The African Cup of Nations title hopefuls Côte d’Ivoire received a heavy blow on the eve of their first match of the tournament, with first-choice goalkeeper Sylvain Gbohouo being ruled out for doping. The Ivorian Football Federation revealed the news of the ban imposed by FIFA on Tuesday, 24 hours before the Elephants face Equatorial Guinea in their group opener in the Cameroonian city of Douala. “FIFA can confirm that its disciplinary committee has provisionally suspended Sylvain Gbohouo for doping,” a spokesperson for the world football governing body told UKTN.
The 33-year-old has started all six of Africa’s qualifying group stage matches for this year’s World Cup, most recently a decisive 1-0 loss to Cameroon in November.
He was their first-choice goalkeeper in the 2019 Nations Cup and appeared in every game except the final when Côte d’Ivoire won the continental title in 2015.
“He tested positive after the game here two months ago and we immediately appealed,” French Côte d’Ivoire manager Patrice Beaumelle said at a press conference in Douala.
Beaumelle revealed that he asked Gbohouo to see an optician because he was having trouble dealing with long balloons, and the keeper was then prescribed treatment.
“It was the end of it, but he then tested positive in November, although they couldn’t find what drug had caused him.
“We all support him. He trained on his own, didn’t sleep or eat and lost weight.
“We were hoping for a positive outcome, but I found out last night that FIFA was upholding the ban and that we had 20 days to appeal, which we did.”
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