A couple of days ago, we relayed news from Algeria that both Leicester City’s Islam Slimani and Riyad Mahrez would not be called up by Lucas Alcaraz during the next international break.
While the two forwards’ performances haven’t exactly been scintillating recently, the former of the two did manage to score a very impressive goal as the Foxes knocked Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool out of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night.
Still, that wasn’t enough to change their national team manager’s mind, and it seems the decision, for now, at least, is final.
During a meeting with some of the presidents of the Algerian regional leagues, the Algerian Football Association’s president, Kheireddine Zetchi, hinting at the reasons behind a few key players being left out of the recent squad.
He said, relayed by L’Expression: “Only motivated players will be called up in the future. Whoever comes and plays here needs to always put the interest of the national team above everything”.
According to Zetchi, both Slimani and Mahrez rang him last Monday to try and get some explanations, but he didn’t let the media know what was said during the private conversations.
Unable to qualify for the World Cup after losing three of their last four games, it could just be that Alcaraz wants to give other players a chance to impress in a game that only really matters to Cameroon.
However, it’s worth remembering that the Algerian FA released a statement on the 31st of August explaining they had authorised Riyad Mahrez to stay behind in Europe in order for him to sort out a transfer, only to retract it closer to the deadline once it became clear the winger wouldn’t be going anywhere.
Perhaps this showed where his priorities lied when his country needed him the most.