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Algeria appoint Lucas Alcaraz as head coach

Algeria have named Lucas Alcaraz as their new head coach, only three days after he was dismissed as Granada boss.

Les Fennecs parted ways with Georges Leekens following a miserable Nations Cup campaign in which they headed to Gabon among the favourites for the title but limped out in the group stage after taking just two points.

50-year-old Alcaraz was sacked by Granada on Monday with the Nasrids 19th in La Liga, and his appointment as Algeria coach is almost as surprising as his former employers' decision to name Arsenal legend Tony Adams as his replacement at Los Carmenes.

The Spaniard started his third stint as Grananda coach in November, but was relieved of his duties following a 3-1 home defeat by Valencia on Sunday.

Granada-born Alcaraz has enjoyed a two-decade-long managerial career in Spain with the likes of Almeria, Recreativo, Cordoba and Levante, but has never coached outside his homeland and represents a left-field choice by the Algerian federation.

The North African heavyweights had been linked with moves for both ex-Middlesbrough coach Aitor Karanka and another Spaniard, Joaquin Caparros, who had been the frontrunner for the post.

Alcaraz, who has been appointed by new FAF chief Khereddine Zetchi, will hope to end a period of instability for Algeria, who have now had four full-time coaches in just over a year.

Christian Gourcuff departed in April, but his replacement Milovan Rajevac quit after just two matches - - including a home World Cup qualifying draw with Cameroon - - amidst suggestions that he'd been ousted by players discontent with his selection policy and approach.

Belgian coach Leekens stepped in ahead of the Nations Cup, but was unable to reverse the side's fortunes during that miserable campaign, while their hopes of reaching a third successive World Cup are also in doubt after a defeat by Nigeria in Uyo in November.

While a spot at Russia 2018 may be beyond Algeria, Alcaraz will be expected to see the Desert Warriors through a Nations Cup qualifying group containing Togo, Benin and Gambia.

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