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Page last updated at 11:22 GMT, Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Algeria await Chaouchi appeal

By Piers Edwards
BBC Sport, Johannesburg

Faouzi Chaouchi
Chaouchi was sent off in Angola and could miss the World Cup

The Algerian Football Federation (Faf) will find out next week if its decision to appeal World Cup-related bans for Nadir Belhadj and Faouzi Chaouchi has been successful.

Earlier this month, the Confederation of African Football (Caf) handed Belhadj and Chaouchi two-match and three-match bans respectively.

Portsmouth left-back Belhadj can thus face England in June's World Cup, although goalkeeper Chaouchi's participation in South Africa is less clear at present.

Both were punished for red cards in the 4-0 loss to Egypt during January's Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals, where defender Rafik Halliche's dismissal also earned a one-game ban.

With the trio having already missed the third-place play-off through suspension, Halliche can contest all Algeria's Group C ties while Portsmouth's Belhadj must only sit out the opener with Slovenia.

Meanwhile, Chaouchi, 25, is hoping to exploit a technicality which will enable him to contest the World Cup - a further stroke of fortune given the leniency of his punishment.

Though having earned two yellow cards, Chaouchi's three-match ban came from a separate incident in the fiery Benguela encounter where he aimed to head-butt referee Coffi Codjia.

"The suspension isn't that severe," a relieved Chaouchi said after the ruling.

"I was scared Coffi Codjia would write a report that incriminates me more but the Faf president reassured me he was going to follow the case very closely so that extenuating circumstances would be taken into account."

Since the ban applies to competitive internationals, Faf may claim that Chaouchi is serving his suspension by missing ongoing qualifiers for the 2011 African Nations Championship (Chan).

The Chan is Caf's international competition for domestically-based footballers, and Chaouchi is eligible for the Algerian side since he plays for local champions Entente Setif.

Should this path prove successful, Chaouchi could even start the Slovenia match since Algeria are playing home-and-away Chan ties against Libya this month.

Nadir Belhadj
Nadir Belhadj was also sent off in the game against Egypt

As with Chaouchi, many observers expected Caf's Disciplinary Committee to take a harsher line on Belhadj following his uncontrolled two-footed lunge on Egypt's Ahmed Al Muhammadi.

A three-match ban would have ruled the Portsmouth man out of a clash with the country where he makes his living, with Algeria taking on England on 18 June in Cape Town.

Meanwhile, Halliche, a key component of Algeria's back four, was punished for a professional foul in the bitter North African rivals' clash, which Algeria finished with only eight men.

After meeting Slovenia in Polokwane on 13 June, the Desert Foxes face England before finishing Group C against the United States in Pretoria on 23 June.

Algeria will be contesting their third World Cup, having previously appeared in both the 1982 and 1986 finals.

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see also
Algeria 0-4 Egypt
28 Jan 10 |  African
Referee Codjia suspended by Caf
31 Jan 10 |  African
Nigeria 1-0 Algeria
30 Jan 10 |  African
Africa Cup of Nations as it happened
24 Jan 10 |  African

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