Algeria manager Djamel Belmadi has called up NA Hussein Dey goalkeeper Gaya Merbah to the national team squad, to replace the injured ES Setif shot stopper Mustapha Zeghba.
Merbah, who has never played for the Desert Foxes, has been impressive for NAHD in this season’s CAF Confederation Cup. The 24-year-old joins Alexandre Oukidja and Azzedine Doukha as the men in between the sticks.
Number one goalkeeper Rais M’Bolhi also did not make the squad due to injury, so there will be a chance to see some new faces play for the North Africans. Oukidja is also uncapped.
26 players have been called up for the March international break in total, as Belmadi looks to experiment with some new players ahead of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in June and July.
As well as Hussein Dey, the squad features players from USM Alger and Paradou AC. However, some fans are planning on not turning up to the game as part of a political protest. Merbah joined NAHD from RC Arbaa back in the summer of 2016.
Algeria host Gambia on Friday night before playing Tunisia on Tuesday evening for their first two matches of 2019. You can follow the game in English with DZ Football.