Belhadj banned for World Cup opener

CAIRO - Algeria wing-back Nadir Belhadj will miss their opening World Cup game against Slovenia after being given a two-match ban for his red card in the African Nations Cup finals, the Confederation of African Football said on Thursday.

Belhadj was sent off against Egypt in the Nations Cup semi-final on January 28. The Portsmouth player has already served one match of the ban as he missed the third place play-off at the tournament in Angola.

Algeria goalkeeper Faouzi Chaouchi was banned for three games for headbutting referee Bonaventure Coffi Codjia during the game against Egypt.

Chaouchi, who was not cautioned by Codjia at the time, was expected to be handed a much stiffer punishment but the disciplinary committee said there was no mention of the incident in either the referee's report or that of the match commissioner and the video evidence was not conclusive.

CAF have already indefinitely suspended Codjia for failing to take any action against Chaouchi for the incident.

Algeria's football federation were also fined $20,000.

Algeria are drawn in Group C at the World Cup in South Africa. They open their campaign against Slovenia on June 13. and also play England and the U.S.

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