Around the World: Algeria and the Barclays Premier League

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Monday 09 June 2014

Around the World: Algeria and the Barclays Premier League

Ahead of the FIFA 2014 World Cup, a look at the influence the north African nation has had on BPL

  • Spurs' Moussa Saib was the first Algerian to both appear and score in the BPL

  • Hameur Boazza leads his compatriots in terms of BPL goals and appearances

  • Nadir Belhadj (left) is the Algerian with the second-most BPL goals and appearances

Ahead of the FIFA 2014 World Cup, which starts on 12 June, looks at the 31 nations outside of England who are competing in Brazil and their influence on the Barclays Premier League.

Algeria are poised to take part in their fourth FIFA World Cup finals but coach Vahid Halilhodzic is hoping to lead them to the knockout stage for the first time. The Desert Foxes have yet to live up to their first appearance at the finals, in 1982, when they missed out on the knockout stage on goal difference despite a 2-1 win against West Germany and a 3-2 triumph over Chile. They have since only mustered a point from their last two showings, at the 1986 and 2010 tournaments, and failed to score in South Africa. In Brazil, they must fare better than at least two of Belgium, Russia and Korea Republic in Group H.

Halilhodzic has included two Barclays Premier League players in his 23-man squad, with Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Nabil Bentaleb and Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez selected. Youth academy graduate Bentaleb broke into the Spurs first team when Tim Sherwood gave him his debut in December 2013, introducing him as a substitute against Southampton. He made 15 BPL appearances for the north Londoners last term and scored for Algeria in their World Cup warm-up match against Romania last month.

Mahrez caught Halilhodzic's attention by helping a Leicester side he joined in January win the Championship title and earn promotion to the Barclays Premier League and he impressed sufficiently on debut - a 3-1 friendly win over Armenia - to make the final cut.

There have been 11 Algerian players to have plied their trade in the Barclays Premier League with Tottenham Hotspur's Moussa Saib the first among them in March 1998. Algerians have made a total of 248 Barclays Premier League appearances and scored a total of 21 goals, the first of them coming from Saib two months after making his debut.

The most BPL goals scored by an Algerian is seven by Hameur Bouazza, the former Watford and Fulham winger, who is also the leading appearance-maker with 52 top-flight sorties.

  • Algeria's Nabil Bentaleb broke into the Tottenham Hotspur first team last season

  • Riyad Mahrez has been selected for World Cup action after helping Leicester win promotion


Algerians in the Barclays Premier League
Total players in BPL history 11
Total BPL appearances 248
Total BPL goals 21

First Algerian to play in the Barclays Premier League
Moussa Saib
- Tottenham Hotspur (v Bolton Wanderers, 1 March 1998)

Top 10 BPL appearances by Algerians
Hameur Bouazza 52
Nadir Belhadj
Adlene Guedioura
Ali Bernabia
Hassan Yebda
Nabil Bentaleb
Kamel Ghilas
Moussa Saib
Djamel Belmahi
Majdid Bougherra

First Algerian to score in the Barclays Premier League

Moussa Saib - Tottenham Hotspur (v Wimbledon, 2 May1998)

Top Algerian goalscorers in BPL
Hameur Bouazza 7
Nadir Belhadj 5
Ali Bernabia 3
Adlene Guedioura 2
Hassan Yebda 2
Kamel Ghilas 1
Moussa Saib 1

Algeria's 23-man FIFA World Cup squad

Goalkeepers: Rais Mbolhi (CSKA Sofia), Cedric Si Mohamed (CS Constantine), Mohamed Lamine Zemmamouche (USM Alger)

Defenders: Essaid Belkalem (Watford, on loan from Granada), Madjid Bougherra (Lekhwya Club), Liassine Cadamuro (Mallorca), Faouzi Ghoualm (Napoli), Rafik Halliche (Academica Coimbra), Aissa Mandi (Stade Reims), Carl Medjani (Valenciennes), Djamel Mesbah (Livorno), Mehdi Mostefa (Ajaccio)

Midfielders: Nabil Bentaleb (Tottenham Hotspur), Yasine Brahimi (Granada), Medhi Lacen (Getafe), Saphir Taider (Inter Milan), Hassan Yebda (Udinese)

Forwards: Abdelmoumene Djabou (Club Africain), Sofiane Feghouli (Valencia), Nabil Ghilas (Porto), Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City), Islam Slimani (Sporting Lisbon), Hilal Soudani (Dinamo Zagreb)

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Key Points

  • Ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup we look at the influence of players from 31 participating nations outside England on the BPL
  • Next in series looks at players from Algeria in the Barclays Premier League
  • Moussa Saib was the first Algerian to both appear and score in the BPL while Hameur Bouazza has made most BPL appearances by an Algerian player