Algeria gets boost from French youth internationals

JOHANNESBURG, (Reuters) -- FIFA has formally declared three former French junior internationals eligible to play for Algeria, clearing them to participate in this year's World Cup.

A request for a change of nationality for Habib Belaid, Ryad Boudebouz and Mohamed Chakhouri was approved by world football's governing body on Tuesday.

The trio all played for France at junior level but because they are dual nationals and have not been capped at senior level, they are eligible to represent Algeria.

Belaid and Boudebouz were named in a preliminary squad of 25 by Algeria coach Rabah Saadane this month for its pre-World Cup preparations, which start in Switzerland on Thursday.

FIFA said it had also received a request from Algeria about former Liverpool midfielder Carl Medjani, who now plays for Ajaccio in the French second division.

"The matter is being assessed and a decision will be taken very soon," a spokesman said, adding that no decision had yet been taken on the status of former Germany Under-21 international midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng, who is wanted by Ghana for the World Cup.

Algeria has been drawn in World Cup Group C along with England, Slovenia and the United States.

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