AFCON opponent watch: Algeria’s Essad Belkalem out, Mehdi Abeid doubtful

Trabzonspor’s Algerian defender Essaïd Belkalem has officially been ruled out of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.

The 26-year-old centre-back aggravated a hamstring injury in a S?per Lig encounter against Eksisehirspor earlier this week, before undergoing an MRI scan which revealed a muscle tear that will keep him side-lined for a few weeks.

As expected, ‘Fennecs’ coach Christian Gourcuff called up Osasuna’s defender Liassine Cadamuro as a replacement for Belkalem.

As for Newcastle’s midfielder Mehdi Abeid, he is still struggling to fully recover from a toe injury and will undergo a final medical assessment at the Sidi Moussa Technical Centre on Monday.

Should he be dropped on medical grounds, he will be replaced by FC Metz midfielder Ahmed Kashi whose arrival at the Algerian camp is scheduled on Tuesday.

Algeria will kick off their 2015 AFCON campaign in Equatorial Guinea against South Africa in Mongomo on January 19, before facing their other Group C opponents Ghana and Senegal.

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