Algiers: Scottish Premier League leaders Glasgow Rangers were dealt a blow on Friday when their Algerian international defender Madjid Bougherra was banned from facing bitter rivals Celtic on January 3.
The Algerian football federation announced that any of its England and Scotland-based players, due to take part in the 2010 African Nations Cup, can only fulfil their club commitments until December 30.
Bougherra can play for Rangers on Sunday against Hibernian, but not against Celtic on January 3 despite pressure from Gers boss Walter Smith.
Algeria, who have also qualified for the World Cup, will take part in the African Nations Cup from January 10-31 in Angola, with the some of the squad due to assemble in the south of France for a training camp from Saturday.
“A training session will also take place from January 1-7 which all players are expected to attend,” said a federation source.
In the English Premier League, Portsmouth duo Hassan Yebda and Nadir Belhadj are expected to play on Monday against Arsenal.
At the African Nations Cup, Algeria are in Group A with Angola, Mali and Malawi.