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Friday, 7 February, 2003, 15:31 GMT
Stars left out for Algeria friendly
Djamel Belmadi
Belmadi is in the squad - but team-mate Benarbia is not

Algeria coach George Leekens has left out Manchester City's Ali Benarbia and veteran Moussa Saib from his first squad as Desert Warriors boss.

However, Leekens said he had not named the pair for the match against Belgium next Wednesday in order to save them for African Nations Cup qualifiers later in the year.

Manchester City star Benarbia was thought to have retired from international football, but Leekens said he was hoping he would feature against Chad and Namibia in June and July.

Saib has just returned to Algeria after a decade overseas and is now a regular for the JS Kabylie, the winners of last year's Caf Cup.

Leekens, who is up against his home country in his debut as Algerian coach, will have eight foreign-based players in his squad, including another Manchester City player, Djamel Belmadi.

Belmadi recently moved to England on a free transfer from Marseille in France.

Belgium-based Nasreddine Kraouche has recovered from injury to also be included in the squad, and will likely line up against some of his Ghent teammates.

Leekens has also called up the uncapped Abdelmalek Cherrad from French league club Nice, who have had a dream season in the current campaign.

Algeria's match in Annaba is one of several on Wednesday which will feature African countries.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Geert De Vlieger (Willem II/Ned), Frederic Herpol (Ghent)

Defenders: Daniel Van Buyten (Marseille/Fra), Peter Van Der Heyden (FC Bruges), Timmy Simons (FC Bruges), Olivier De Cock (FC Bruges), Jelle Van Damme (Ajax/Ned)

Midfielders: Bart Goor (Hertha Berlin/Ger), Walter Baseggio (Anderlecht), Yves Vanderhaghe (Anderlecht), Gatan Englebert (FC Bruges), Bernd Thijs (Genk), Sandy Martens (FC Bruges), Mbo Mpenza (Mouscron)

Forwards: Wesley Sonck (RC Genk), Thomas Buffel (Feyenoord/Ned), Cedric Roussel (Mons), Tom Sotars (Roda JC Kerkrade/Ned), Emile Mpenza (Schalke 04/Ger)

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