Côte d’Ivoire keeper Sylvain Gbohouo to miss AFCON opener over alleged doping violation

UTRECHT, NETHERLANDS - OCTOBER 13: Sylvain Gbohouo of Ivory Coast during the International Friendly match between Japan v Ivory Coast at the Stadium Glagenwaard on October 13, 2020 in Utrecht Netherlands (Photo by Laurens Lindhout/Soccrates/Getty Images)

Côte d’Ivoire is set to be without its first-choice goalkeeper Sylvain Gbohouo for its opening Africa Cup of Nations match after he was provisionally suspended by football’s world governing body, FIFA, for an alleged doping violation.

Gbohouo tested positive for trimetazidine, a heart medication that the World Anti-Doping Agency classifies as a stimulant.

FILE PHOTO: Sylvain Gbohouo of Côte d’Ivoire. /Getty Images

Côte d’Ivoire’s football federation confirmed the suspension a day before The Elephants are set to take on Equatorial Guinea. The two West African sides play their Group E opener at the Japoma Stadium in Douala on Wednesday.

The suspension of Gbohouo, who plays in Ethiopia at Wolkite City, was first announced by the Ethiopian Football Federation last month but Côte d’Ivoire did not confirm the statement at the time.

Côte d’Ivoire had held out hope that the 33-year-old would be available for the game after more information was given but FIFA’s disciplinary committee upheld the sanction.

FIFA has given a 20-day window in which a formal appeal can be launched.

(Story compiled with assistance from wire reports)