One of Africa Cup of Nations title hopefuls Ivory Coast may have suffered a set on the eve of their first game as first goalkeeper Sylvain Gbohouo was ruled out for doping.
The Ivorian Football Federation announced the news of the FIFA-imposed ban on Tuesday, 24 hours before the Elephants play Equatorial Guinea in their opening group game in the Cameroonian city of Douala.
The 33-year-old started all six matches in the group stage of African qualifying for this year’s World Cup, including most recently a decisive 1-0 defeat in Cameroon in November.
He was their first-choice goalkeeper at the 2019 Cup of Nations and appeared in every game bar the final when the Ivory Coast won the continental title in 2015.
Ivory Coast’s French coach, Patrice Beaumelle said he tested positive after the game two months ago and he appealed immediately.
Beaumelle revealed he had asked Gbohouo to see an optician because he was struggling to deal with long balls, and that the goalkeeper was then prescribed treatment.