Africa Cup of Nations debutants and COSAFA hopefuls Comoros Islands have picked a 26-man squad for next month’s Africa Cup of Nations finals, with all but one of them French-born.
Coach Amir Abdou announced his squad ahead of their departure for Saudi Arabia on Saturday, where they will train for the tournament and play practice games.
The Indian Ocean island grouping were shock qualifiers for the tournament in Cameroon but have made remarkable progress in recent years, particularly after tapping into a large emigrant community in the south of France.
Twenty two of the squad were born in mainland France and three more in Mayotte, French territory that ceded from the Comoros in 1978 when it obtained independence.
Only one player — Abdallah Ali Mohamed from Swiss second division club Stade Lausanne-Ouchy – was born in the Comoros.
They compete in Group C against Gabon, Ghana and Morocco, making their tournament debut on Jan. 10 against Gabon in Yaounde.
Before that, the Comorians will train in Jeddah and have friendlies scheduled against the Ivory Coast and Malawi before arriving in Cameroon on Jan. 5, the Comoros Football federation said.
Goalkeepers: Ali Ahamada (unattached), Ben Salith Boina (US Endoume), Moyadh Ousseni (Frejus Saint-Raphael)
Defenders: Kassim Abdallah (Marignane-Gignac), Nadjim Abdou (Martigues), Chaker Alhadhur (AC Ajaccio), Kassim Mdahoma (US Avranches), Abdallah Ali Mohamed (Stade Lausanne-Ouchy), Bendjaloud Youssouf (Chateauroux), Younn Zahary (Cholet)
Midfielders: Rafidine Abdullah (Stade Lausanne-Ouchy), Nakibou Aboubakari (Sete), Fouad Bachirou (Omonia Nicosia), Said Bakari (RKC Waalwjik), Yacine Bourhane (Go Ahead Eagles), Nasser Chamed (Gaz Metan Medias), Youssouf Mchangama (En-Avant Guingamp), Iyad Mohamed (AJ Auxerre), Mohamed Youssouf (AC Ajaccio)
Forwards: El Fardou Ben Mohamed (Red Star Belgrade), Moussa Djoumoi (Saint-Priest), Faiz Mattoir (Cholet), Mohamed Mchangama (FC Nouadhibou), Ali Mmadi (Epinal), Ahmed Mogni (Annecy), Faïz Selemani (Kortrijk).