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M'bolhi and Feghouli withdraw from Algeria squad for Portugal friendly

10:23 PM SGT 25/5/18
Sofiane Feghouli Galatasaray 9302017
Rais M’bolhi and Sofiane Feghouli have pulled out of Algeria's squad for friendly matches against Cape Verde and European champions Portugal

The duo had been selected by coach Rabah Madjer for next month's matches and have since been replaced by Toufik Moussaoui and Farid El-Mellali, both of Algerian League 1 side Paradou AC.

Algeria are set to play Cape Verde at home on June 1 and World Cup-bound, Portugal six days later in Lisbon.

Goalkeeper M’bolhi and Galatasaray midfielder Feghouli’s withdrawal from the squad drags on a standoff between the players and Madjer as reported by DZFoot.

The two last featured for the Desert Foxes under Spanish coach Lucas Alcaraz last October in the 2-0 World Cup qualifier defeat to Cameroon in Yaoundé.

Despite being key figures for Algeria under Alcaraz, they have been frozen out in five matches that Madjer has been in charge of since November last year.

But the Algerian football federation, FAF, has said that M’bolhi of Saudi top-tier side Al-Ettifaq has requested to be excused from the national team while former West Ham midfielder Feghouli is injured.

“Sofiane Feghouli informed the federation that he was injured (Achilles tendon) and therefore unavailable for the two friendlies in June. For his part, M'bolhi sent a letter in which he asked to be exempted from the friendlies. At the standstill since the end of the championship in Saudi Arabia in April, the Algerian international goalkeeper does not feel able to answer, at the moment, the solicitations of the national team and therefore wants to postpone his coming to the next matches,” said FAF in a statement.

Algeria are one of the high-profile African countries who failed to qualify for the upcoming World Cup in Russia.

Nigeria denied the Desert Foxes the ticket to Russia in a group which also comprised of Cameroon and Zambia, whose coach Wedson Nyirenda quit on Thursday.

The Football Association of Zambia secretary general Ponga Liwewe told the BBC that they will soon begin the hunt for Nyirenda’s replacement with Beston Chambeshi in charge on an interim basis.

“The process to fill the vacancy of the head coach will begin and the association will conclude the process in the shortest possible time to meet upcoming engagements,” Liwewe said.

Having assumed the Chipolopolo job in September 2016, Nyirenda is reported to be on his way to join South African Premier Soccer League side Baroka FC.