[WORLD CUP COUNTDOWN] Most players would jump at the chance to join their national team. French-born Mehdi Lacen, based
at Spanish club Racing Santander, took almost three weeks to respond to calls from the Algerian national team that he had been called up for the Desert Foxes' game against Serbia Wednesday in
When Lacen didn't respond to calls on his cell phone, the Algerian federation resorted to having the Algerian media pass on messages asking Lacen to get in contact with federation president Mohamed Raouraoua or national team coach Rabah Saadane.
When he did respond, Lacen's message was short and sweet, sent via text message.
Other players not at the Africa Cup of Nations getting callups included Rafik Djebbour of Greek club AEK Athens and Chadli Amri of Germany's Mainz.
Out of the team are goalie Lounes Gaouaoui, red carded in the semifinal loss to Egypt, and Khaled Lemmouchia, who quit in the middle of the Africa Cup of Nations.
The Serbia game is the first of three the Fennecs, who will play the USA at the World Cup, will play before heading to South Africa on June 6.
Other games will be against Dublin on May 29 and an opponent to be determined on June 5 in Algiers.
Saadane will take the Desert Foxes to the Italian national training center in Coverciano for eight days of training, beginning May 20.
Goalkeepers: Faouzi Chaouchi (ES Setif), Mohammed Zemmamouche (USM Algiers), Mohamed Ouserir (CR Belouizdad)
Defenders: Slimane Raho (ES Setif), Anthar Yahia (Bochum, Germany), Nadir Belhadj (Portsmouth, England), Madjid Bougherra (Glasgow Rangers), Samir Zaoui (ASO Chlef), Rafik Halliche (Nacional de Madeira, Portugal), Reda Babouche (MC Algiers)
Midfielders: Yazid Mansouri (Lorient, France), Karim Ziani (Wolfsburg, Germany), Karim Matmour (Borussia M'Gladbach, Germany), Mourad Meghni (Lazio, Italy), Hassan Yebda (Portsmouth, England), Djamel Abdoun (Nantes, France), Medhi Lacen (Racing Santander, Spain).
Forwards: Abelkader Ghezzal (Siena, Italy), Rafik Djebbour (AEK Athens), Chadli Amri (Mainz, Germany).