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Africa Cup of Nations Qualification

Algeria coach Djamel Belmadi hints at resting regular players for Afcon qualifier

1:42 PM MYT 08/12/2018
Djamel Belmadi Algeria
The Desert Foxes have already qualified for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers with a match to spare

Algerian coach Djamel Belmadi has hinted at using only home-based players for their final 2019 Afcon qualifier at home against Gambia next March.

With the Desert Foxes already qualified for the tournament with a match to go, Belmadi said he could give international football chances only to players plying their trade at home as well as fringe players based abroad. 

This could see the coach sacrificing European-based stars like Manchester City forward Riyad Mahrez, Islam Slimani, Yacine Brahimi and goalkeeper Rais M’Bolhi who had been the mainstay of the team over the years.

“We’ve already qualified but is still important because there are players in the selection who have not been given much time and who have been doing well especially home and few others abroad,” Belmadi was quoted as saying by Gambian publication Foroyaa.

If Belmadi does not field a squad composed of his regular players, it could be great news for Gambia who need an outright win to qualify.

Gambia would also be praying that other Group D contestants Benin and Togo draw so as to fancy their chances of claiming a ticket to Afcon 2019.

After disappointing at last year’s Afcon finals, as well as failing to qualify for the 2018 Fifa World Cup, Algeria would be out to restore pride at the 2019 Afcon finals.