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Page last updated at 18:34 GMT, Sunday, 16 May 2010 19:34 UK

World Cup boost for Algeria and Cameroon

By Piers Edwards
BBC Sport

Algeria's Nadir Belhadj receives red card
Nadir Belhadj could now contest Algeria's opening World Cup match

A Confederation of African Football pardon means Algeria's Nadir Belhadj and Cameroon's Aurelien Chedjou could start in the opening World Cup matches.

The two defenders were sent off during the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations.

But at a Caf meeting in Cairo the pair were handed an unexpected reprieve given the African body had previously rejected Algerian appeals in March.

However, Belhadj and Chedjou must now wait to find out if Fifa ratifies the African ruling body's decision.

"The executive committee decided to declare a general amnesty for all ongoing sanctions, with the exception of those imposed as a result of physical aggression against a referee or official," said a statement on the Caf website.

"Caf president Hayatou indicated that on the eve of such an important event as the organization of the World Cup on our continent, players … should take part and benefit from the occasion of this great football feast which is organized on African soil."

Algerian full-back Belhadj, a second-half substitute for Portsmouth in their FA Cup final defeat to Chelsea on Saturday, received a two-match ban following his red card against Egypt in January's Nations Cup semi-final defeat.

He served the first of these when missing the third-place play-off against Nigeria in Angola.

However, there is no reprieve for Belhadj's international colleague Faouzi Chaouchi, with the young goalkeeper handed a three-match ban after seeing red for seemingly attempting to headbutt the referee in the game against Egypt.

With Chaouchi having sat out the third-place play-off in Angola through suspension, he is eligible to play in Algeria's third and final Group C match against the United States should he able to dislodge regular number one Lounes Gaouaoui.

Algeria kick off their first World Cup in 24 years when facing Slovenia on 13 June, before meeting England in Cape Town on 18 June and the United States in Pretoria five days later.

Cameroon centre-back Chedjou, who plays his club football for French side Lille, also suffered a dismissal against the Egypt as the Indomitable Lions lost their quarter-final 3-1.

Cameroon open their Group E World Cup campaign against Japan in Bloemfontein on 14 June, followed by matches with Denmark (19 June) in Pretoria and finally against the Dutch (24 June) in Cape Town.

Africa's first World Cup finals take place in South Africa between 11 June and 11 July.

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see also
Algeria World Cup appeal fails
20 Mar 10 |  African
Algeria await Chaouchi appeal
17 Mar 10 |  African
Referee Codjia suspended by Caf
31 Jan 10 |  African
Algeria 0-4 Egypt
28 Jan 10 |  African

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