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FACTBOX- Soccer-Profile of Algeria squad for African Nations Cup
January 9, 2017 / 2:01 AM / 10 months ago

FACTBOX- Soccer-Profile of Algeria squad for African Nations Cup

Jan 9 (Reuters) - Factbox on African Nations Cup qualifiers
Algeria.
    African Nations Cup record
    Previous appearances in finals: (16) 1968, 1980, 1982, 1984,
1986, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2010,
2013, 2015.
    Best performance: Winners 1990
    Drawn in Group B with Senegal, Tunisia and Zimbabwe.
    - - -
    Coach: George Leekens
    Twice the national coach of his native Belgium and also
previously briefly in charge of Algeria, this will be Leekens'
third major tournament after the 1998 World Cup in France and
the 2015 Nations Cup, where he was Tunisia manager.
    He qualified Belgium for the 1998 World Cup but was fired
after a disappointing tournament, returning to the post in 2010
for a second time only to quit for a job at Club Bruges when the
prospects for the national side were vastly underrated.
    Leekens, now 67, was Algeria coach in 2003 and has also
worked at clubs in Turkey, Netherlands and Saudi Arabia. With
Tunisia he reached the quarter-finals of the 2015 Nations Cup.
    As a player, he spent most of his career at Club Bruges,
winning five championship medals and three caps for his country.
    - - -
    Key player: Riyad Mahrez, Age: 25. Winger
    Mahrez was crowned 2016 African Footballer of the Year last
week after winning the English Premier League with underdogs
Leicester City.
    Born in Sarcelles, France, his father hailed from Algeria.
    Moved to Leicester from Le Havre after a scout from the
English club went to watch one of his team mates but was instead
mesmerised by Mahrez's ability.
    At the last Nations Cup finals, he scored in a 2-0 win over
Senegal to get Algeria through to the quarter-finals.
    - - -
    FIFA world ranking Dec 2016: 38
    How they qualified:  First place team in Group J, ahead of
Ethiopia, Seychelles and Lesotho.
    Squad:
    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; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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