KINSHASA, Sept 16 (Reuters) - Democratic Republic of Congo captain Shabani Nonda could make his long-awaited comeback in next month's World Cup qualifier in Ghana after being named on Thursday in a preliminary squad of 17 foreign-based players.
Nonda, who travelled to Kinshasa for the Group Two win over South Africa earlier this month but did not play because of a thigh injury, has not featured for his country in 18 months but is expected to recover for the match in Kumasi on October 10.
Coach Claude LeRoy is also hoping to end the much longer exile of defender Nzelo Lembi whose last game for his country was in 1997. The Kaiserslautern player was called up for the South Africa match but had an Achilles injury.
Also included is Portsmouth striker Lomana LuaLua who was another to miss the 1-0 win over South Africa through injury.
LeRoy is talking to former Dutch youth international Kiki Musampa and Portuguese under-23 player Ariza Makukula, who were born in Kinshasa, about playing for the Congolese.
The coach, now travelling in Europe, is also seeking to recall Frank Matingou of French club Bastia, who last played for the country at the African Nations Cup in Tunisia in January.
The Swedish-based trio of Yannick Ngaba Bapupa, Rene Makondele and Blaise Mbemba were called up for the first time since LeRoy took over as coach.
The Democratic Republic of Congo share top spot in the group with Ghana on seven points after four matches of the African zone qualifying campaign for the 2006 World Cup in Germany.