Algeria taps Mansouri as captain

Algeria coach Rabah Saadane named a preliminary 25-man squad on Tuesday for the World Cup and confirmed Yazid Mansouri as its captain.

Algeria coach Rabah Saadane named a preliminary 25-man squad on Tuesday for the World Cup and confirmed Yazid Mansouri as its captain.

Saadane will reduce his squad to 23 by June, in line with FIFA regulations.

A French-born dual citizen, Mansouri is a defensive midfielder for French top-flight club Lorient.

Seven of the Algerian squad play their club football in France, and several are dual citizens who have played for France at youth level. Only four of the squad currently play in Algeria.

"After an absence of 24 years, Algeria has found its way to the World Cup again, aiming to play high-level football and to honourably represent Arab and African football," Saadane told reporters in Algiers.

Algeria is the only Arab country to qualify for the tournament and is one of six from the African continent.

In a country recovering from a civil war in the 1990s and still facing regular attacks linked to al-Qaeda, the team's last-minute qualification against Egypt sent a shock wave through Algerian society.

Algeria will play England, the United States and Slovenia in Group C.

Saadane said he hoped his team could make it to the second round. "But that depends on many issues, including the players' health and condition," he said. Many of them are currently recovering from injuries, he added.

Defender Nadir Belhadj has not played since March 20 because of a hamstring injury, and Madjid Bougherra has been sidelined since April 18 due to a strained calf.

Algeria will shortly be having a training camp in the Swiss ski resort of Crans-Montana, where the medical and coaching staff will be working on the players, helped by other fitness specialists, Saadane said.

The team will play a friendly against Ireland on May 28 and will train in Nuremberg in Germany until early June, before playing the United Arab Emirates in another friendly on June 5.

The Algerian team will then head straight to its South African base, in the town of San Lameer, some 120 kilometres from Durban in the province of Kwazulu Natal.

The squad


  • Lounes Gaouaoui (ASO Chlef).
  • Fawzi Chaouchi (ES Setif).
  • Mohamed Liamine Zemamouche (MC Alger).
  • M'bohi Rais Ouhed (Slava Sofia).


  • Abdelkader Laifaoui (ES Setif).
  • Madjid Bougherra (Rangers).
  • Carl Medjani (AC Ajaccio).
  • Rafik Halliche (Nacional Madeira).
  • Anther Yahia (Bochum).
  • Habib Belaid (Boulogne).
  • Nadir Belhadj (Portsmouth).
  • Djamel Mesbah (Lecce).


  • Hassen Yebda (Portsmouth).
  • Medhi Lacen (Racing Santander).
  • Yazid Mansouri (Lorient).
  • Adlane Guedioura (Wolverhampton Wanderers).
  • Riad Boudebouz (Sochaux).
  • Djamel Abdoun (Nantes).
  • Fouad Kadir (Valenciennes).
  • Mourad Meghni (Lazio).
  • Karim Ziani (Wolfsburg).
  • Karim Matmour (Moenchengladbach).


  • Abdelkader Ghezzal (Siena).
  • Rafik Djebbour (AEK).
  • Rafik Saifi (Istres).