DOUALA (Reuters) – Ivory Coast will not be able to use their first choice goalkeeper Sylvain Gbohouo at the Africa Cup of Nations finals after a drugs ban was confirmed by FIFA, the Ivorian Football Federation said.
Gbohouo, who plays club football in Ethiopia at Wolkite City, had been provisionally suspended by FIFA after testing positive for trimetazidine, a heart medication that the World Anti-Doping Agency categorises as a stimulant.
The announcement was made by the Ethiopian Football Federation on the eve of the tournament but the Ivorians included him in their squad for the Cup of Nations anyway, hoping to have the ban lifted after proving an explanation.
“Early last year, we asked Sylvain to do an eye exam, as goalkeepers often do. He did it in Abidjan. The doctor who examined him prescribed medication. Sylvain took the medication in March, but since then he has stopped,” said Ivory Coasst coach Patrice Beaumelle.
“We were informed of the result on December 27. There were traces of the molecule in his urine. We provided the prescription.”
But FIFA’s disciplinary committee has told the Ivorian the suspension is confirmed and allowed 20 days to lodge a formal appeal, Ivorian officials said.
The Ivory Coast play their opening Group E game against Equatorial Guinea in Douala on Wednesday.
(Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Tomasz Janowski)