We hope ……..We have a dream.
Rabah SAÂDANE: Currently in his fifth stint as national coach. Masterminded the World Cup’s great forgotten giantkilling when the Desert Foxes defeated West Germany 2-1 in 1982. Broke down in a press conference before the first qualifying match against Egypt due to the pressure on the team to beat their biggest rivals.
Faouzi CHAOUCHI (ES Sétif): Probably Algeria’s best goalkeeper but has – let’s be charitable – lunatic tendencies which see him suspended for the matches against Slovenia and England after headbutting the referee in the Cup of Nations semi final with Egypt.
Lounès GAOUAOUI (ASO Chlef): Now 32, he missed the Cup of Nations with appendicitis but Chaouchi’s suspension means he will get his day in the sun in South Africa.
Raïs M’BOHLI (Slavia Sofia): The only Algerian keeper to have left their native league. French born and half Congolese, he qualifies for Algeria through his mother. Had a brief spell at Hearts in Scotland but never played in the SPL.
Nadir BELHADJ (Portsmouth): The attack-minded left-back should have been suspended for the first match against Slovenia following his red card against Egypt in the Cup of Nations, though on appeal that ban was applied only to African Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Habib BELLAÏD (Eintracht Frankfurt): One of the recent group of French players able to declare for Algeria due to recent FIFA rule changes, despite having played for France at five different youth age groups. The centre-back was loaned to Boulogne last season.
Madjid BOUGHERRA (Rangers): Like Yahia, could play as a central defender or at right-back. The 27-year-old is the heartbeat of Algeria’s defence and also presents a good aerial threat. Played in England for Crewe, Sheffield Wednesday and Charlton.
Rafit HALLICHE (Nacional): Played Europa League football last season with his Madeira-based club. Tall central defender who scored a vital winner against Mali in the Cup of Nations group stage.
Abdelkader LAÏFAOUI (ES Sétif): Back-up central defender who didn’t play for Algeria between 2004 and 2009. Now 28, has spent his entire career with Algerian clubs.
Carl MEDJANI (Ajaccio): Born in Lyon, he joined local rivals St-Étienne but signed his first professional contract at 18 with Liverpool under Gérard Houllier, though he spent most of his time there on loan with Lorient and Metz. Qualifies for Algeria through his parents.
Antar YAHIA (Bochum): The defender became a national hero after his fine half-volleyed goal saw off a strangely uninspired Egypt in the qualifying tie-breaker in Sudan. French-born, he was the first player to take advantage of FIFA’s eligibility statute changes in 2003.
Djamel ABDOUN (Nantes): Switched international allegiance last year after playing for French youth teams. The central midfielder was briefly loaned to Manchester City from Ajaccio in 2007.
Ryan BOUDEBOUZ (Sochaux): 20-year-old exciting wide player. Two-footed and versatile, Algeria’s gain could be France’s loss. One of his club’s better players in a poor season.
Adlène GUEDIOURA (Wolverhampton Wanderers): Very promising defensive midfielder but has a creative talent. His father Nacer played up front for Algeria while his mother played basketball in Spain. Wolves have made his six-month loan move from Belgian club Charleroi permanent.
Foued KADIR (Valenciennes): The attacking midfielder helped his club finish in the top half of Ligue 1 last season. Born in Martigues but was called up by Algeria’s under-23 team in 2005 and made his senior début in the recent friendly in Ireland.
Mehdi LACEN (Racing Santander): The left-footed central midfielder is calving out a decent career in La Liga, finally scoring his first three goals in Spanish football last season. Sometimes erroneously called Racen, he is French-born and half Italian.
Yazid MANSOURI (Lorient): Holding midfielder and captain, the 32-year-old has 66 caps and spent the 2003/04 season on loan at Coventry City. Made his début for Algeria in the infamous 2001 friendly at the Stade de France which ended with a mass pitch invasion and the French Federation fined by FIFA.
Karim MATMOUR (Borussia Mönchengladbach): Attacking right-winger who is sometimes fielded as a second striker behind Ghezzal or Saïfi. Has spent all of his professional career with German clubs.
Djamel MESBAH (Lecce): Back-up midfielder who plays on the left. Helped his club win the Serie B title in Italy last season having won the Swiss league with Basel in 2005.
Hassan YEBDA (Benfica): Spent the season on loan at financial basket case Portsmouth in the Premier League, he can play in the middle or on the right of midfield. Able to switch to Algeria last year having played for French youth sides.
Karim ZIANI (Wolfsburg): The creative fulcrum of the Algeria side, left Marseille in his native France a year ago to join the then Bundesliga champions, where he often has to play second fiddle to the brilliant Bosnian Zvjezdan Misimović.
Rafik DJEBBOUR (AEK Athens): Centre forward set for a place on the bench as back-up to Saïfi and Ghezzal. Scored the only goal in a friendly win over Uruguay in Algiers last August.
Abdelkader GHEZZAL (Siena): Just been relegated in Italy but the French-born striker should lead the line in South Africa. Part-owned by Genoa, which could give him a means to stay in Serie A next season.
Rafik SAÏFI (Al-Khor): Algeria’s oldest player at 35, the native-born veteran has eighteen international goals to his name spread over more than a decade since he netted twice against Liberia in a CAN 2000 qualifying game. Spent last season on loan at Istres in France from his Qatari club.
Wish You Were Here?
Karim BENZEMA (Real Madrid): Yes, yes, he plays for France but surely wouldn’t have been frozen out of the World Cup had he chosen to ally himself with his parents’ country.
Mourad MEGHNI (Lazio): Took advantage of the further liberalization of eligibility rules at the 2009 FIFA Congress having played for France Under-21. The creative midfielder misses the World Cup as he requires knee surgery.