Rafa Benitez could be heading for a club v country battle of wills in March.

Algeria sacked their manager after a dismal qualifying campaign for this summer’s finals in Russia.

Nigeria topped Group B ahead of Zambia, Cameroon and then Algeria at the very bottom with only four points from their six matches.

After an excellent showing in Brazil, when Algeria got through the group stages and were only knocked out in extra time by Germany in the last 16, the terrible qualifying campaign didn’t go down well with the Algerian football public.

Lucas Alacaraz was subsequently sacked and Rabah Madjer appointed as his successor in October 2017.

Islam Slimani is a key part of the Algeria national team and he scored four goals in six starts during the qualifying campaign, which ended up not being enough to help them make it to Russia.

November 2017 saw the first matches under the new boss and Rabah Madjer selected Islam Slimani to start both games.

Algeria drawing 1-1 with Nigeria and then beating the Central African Republic 3-0, with Slimani scoring the third goal.

On the 21 March Algeria are at home to Tanzania in a friendly and then 26 March they will travel to Iran for another friendly.

Islam Slimani has been at Newcastle a month and after arriving with a thigh injury he still hasn’t been able to get out on the pitch.

Despite this and Rafa Benitez indicating on Friday that the striker will miss at least another two weeks of cub football, the Algerian media are reporting that Rabah Madjer is still expecting Islam Slimani to report for international duty, even if he hasn’t managed a single minute for Newcastle by that point.

The player last played on 16 January for Leicester, so it is set to be 10 weeks without any club football by the time Algeria play.

By that point Newcastle will only have five or six games (depending on when the Spurs match is) where Islam Slimani can potentially play, so the idea of the striker going off on international duty would be very hard for Rafa and the Newcastle fans to take.

A collision course looks all but guaranteed, unless Islam Slimani stays injured…

  • Peaky Magpie

    The whole Slimani saga is turning into one big farce from beginning to end…

    • molend

      You’re reet there, kidder. And I used to think the saga of Noggin the Nog was bad.

      • Peaky Magpie

        😂🤣😂 Must admit I had to google Noggin the Nod..

        • molend

          Same sort of time as Cap’n Pugwash

          • Peaky Magpie

            Can remember that with its risqué double entendre names…

          • Jezza

            Ha ha yes but it was all urban myth. There never was a Seaman Staines or Roger the Cabin Boy.

          • Peaky Magpie

            Really…I was too young to understand anyway….so no Master Bates either…🤣🤣

          • Jezza

            No absolutely not. Those saucy names were all part of an urban myth that took off in the 90’s.

          • Peaky Magpie

            Well I’ve learned something today Jezza as I’m stuck in stranded in a cut off village….snow horrific today.

          • Jezza

            Yes we’ve got a lot of snow here too. I’m just about to walk to the post office in the next village, wish me luck ha ha.

      • Jezza

        Teatimes were never the same after Noggin The Nog went off the air.

        • molend

          They weren’t, were they? Re-runs of The Flower-Pot Men and Sootie and Sweep just didn’t cut it. Dark days until Basil Brush and the Magic Roundabout

          • Jezza

            Oh yes I remember the Basil Brush show on Saturday teatimes right after the teleprinter. No doubt about it, the 70’s was a great time to be a kid.

          • Mike

            mind Magic Roundabout was class “Time for bed” ….great version by Jasper Carrot!!!! ha ha

          • Jezza

            It was only very recently that I found out The Magic Roundabout was a French programme and the English soundtrack was overdubbed. I used to have nightmares about Zebedee when I was a very small kid. I was terrified of him!

  • robbersdog

    How much is Slimani’s sabbatical from football is costing us?

    • Jezza

      Nothing. Absolutely nothing. He is on a pay per play deal and that’s the only reason he is here. It was the only signing Ashley would allow. One that wouldn’t cost anything.

      • Dillon Tovak

        Was it you who said you had a feeling he would never step foot on the pitch for us? I’m starting to think that’s true.

        • Jezza

          Yes it was me. I have had a bad feeling about this last minute loan deal right from the start.

          • MichaelMaximusMoose

            Another Gimp on the books & i suspect Merino isn`t 100% fit either.
            Fatso`s taking the Mikel out of us, Again

      • Mal

        I didn’t realise he was on a pay per play deal. A bit easier to swallow financially if that’s the case though it doesn’t help us much on the pitch at the moment. Where was it stated that was the deal – can you recall?

        • Jezza

          The evidence is overwhelming. You just need to look at all the circumstances of this last munite Slimani loan deal and consider how Ashley operates and the fact that he refused to meet the financial terms of a loan deal for Daniel Sturridge a couple of days previously. There is also a good solid precedent here too. The club under Ashley signed an injured Stephen Ireland on loan on a pay per play basis in January 2011.

        • Natturner26

          Jezza frequently states his beliefs as if they are confirmed facts. His claim about Sturridge below is also just what he believes, despite media claims that it was Sturridge who decided not to join us.

  • Sid James

    Another right Carry On at the Loony Toon.

  • Nut

    Ahhh so now I see it….. the future….

    Slimani comes close to a debut for us but never makes it before he gets called up by Algeria who deem him fit to play and he goes to play for.

    Slimani then ends up getting injured during their matches and having to sit out the rest of the season without being able to make an appearance for us.