Dec 31 (Reuters) - Midfielder Sofiane Feghouli was a surprise omission as Algeria named their 23-man squad on Saturday for the African Nations Cup finals in Gabon.
Algeria, among the pre-tournament favourites, also left out Carl Medjani, who has been a consistent choice since his debut in 2010.
Feghouli has featured in just seven league games for his club West Ham United this season and been the subject of speculation over a move back to France.
The choices by coach George Leekens came after just one match in charge for the veteran Belgian trainer, appointed only last month after Algeria’s poor start to the 2018 World Cup qualification campaign.
He included uncapped 21-year-old Rennes defender Ramy Bensebaini in his squad who will warm-up with two friendlies against Mauritania next week before heading to the tournament.
Algeria open their tournament against Zimbabwe in Franceville on Jan. 15 and also meet Tunisia and Senegal in Group B.
Goalkeepers: Malik Asselah (JS Kabylie), Rais Mbolhi (Antalyaspor), Chemseddine Rahmani (MO Bejaia)
Defenders: Hicham Belkaroui (Esperance), Mokhtar Belkhiter (Club Africain), Ramy Bensebaini (Stade Rennes), Mohamed Benyahia (USM Alger), Liassine Cadamuro (Servette Geneva), Faouzi Ghoulam (Napoli), Aissa Mandi (Real Betis), Mohamed Rabie Meftah (USM Alger), Djamel Mesbah (Crotone)
Midfielders: Mehdi Abeid (Dijon), Nabil Bentaleb (Schalke 04), Yassine Brahimi (FC Porto), Rachid Ghezzal (Olympique Lyonnais), Adlene Guedioura (Watford), Saphir Taider (Bologna)
Forwards: Baghdad Bounedjah (Al Sadd), Sofiane Hanni (Anderlecht), Riyad Mahrez, Islam Slimani (both Leicester City), El Arabi Soudani (Dinamo Zagreb). (Reporting by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Ed Osmond)