African drama to begin in Swiss boardroom

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ZURICH — The first African football drama of 2012 will unfold in a Swiss boardroom as Namibia continue a battle to get Burkina Faso kicked out of the upcoming Cup of Nations (Afcon).

Namibia claim Cameroon-born Herve Zengue was ineligible to play against them in qualifiers for the 2012 African showcase and want to replace Burkina Faso at the January 21-February 12 tournament in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.

Having had two appeals rejected by African football governing body Confedeation of African Footbal, the Namibians have turned to the Switzerland-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) to reverse what official Barry Rukoro calls a “travesty of justice”.

Cas will meet early in January and hear the case against Chechnya-based Zengue, who is married to a Burkinabe, but does not fulfil any of the Fifa criteria to play for the country of his wife.

Although Burkina Faso coach Paulo Duarte has been dismissive of the Namibian appeals, he did not include the left-back in his provisional squad for Group B fixtures against Angola, Ivory Coast and Sudan.

Ivory Coast and Ghana are favourites for the Afcon in the absence of defending champions Egypt and other regular participants like Algeria, Cameroon, Nigeria and South Africa.

Senegal are blessed with an abundance of consistent scorers like Moussa Sow and Demba Ba as they chase a first crown and Gabon, Guinea, Morocco and Tunisia could go far.

Botswana and Niger appear for the first time along with Equatorial Guinea, who owe their place to being co-hosts of a tournament which switches to uneven-number years from 2013 to avoid clashing with the World Cup.

Meanwhile, Guinea coach Frenchman Michel Dessuyer on Wednesday named a list of 26 players to take part in the 2012 Afcon, including playmaker Pascal Feindouno and veterans Kevin Constant and Ismaël Bangoura.

Abdoul Razzagui Camara of Ligue 1 side Sochaux, who had played for France Under-17, Under-18 and Under-21 outfits, was called up for the first time to the Syli National, while Larsen Touré and Richard Soumah, who both also hold dual French and Guinean nationalities, were completely left out.

The team will regroup on January 2 in Conakry before flying to neighbouring Ivory Coast where a week-long pre-tournament groundwork is due to hold from January 9, to be topped off with a friendly against Liberia at the newly-constructed Stade de Guinée in Conakry.

However, the January 18 meeting with the Lone Stars is yet to be confirmed, according to coach Dessuyer, after Sudan pulled out of an earlier arrangement.

Three players will be dropped after the preparations, the coach said.

Guinea Squad
Goalkeepers: Camara Aboubacar (CD Alcoyano, Spain), Keïta Abdoul Aziz (AS Kaloum, Guinea), Yattara Naby (Arles Avignon, France)
Defenders: Bah Thierno (FC Lausanne, Switzerland), Baldé Dian Bobo (Arles Avignon France), Bangoura Ibrahima Sory (AC Djoliba, Mali), Camara Lanfia (WS Woluwe FC, Belgium), Cissé Morlaye (EGF Gafsa, Turkey), Diallo Boubacar (Spartak Trnava, Slovakia), Diallo Ibrahima (Waasland Beveren, Belgium), Zayatte Kamil (Istambul Buyksehir, Turkey), Kalabane Oumar (Al Dhafra, United Arab Emirates)
Midfielders: Bah Diouldé Mamadou (VFB Stuttgart, Germany), Baldé Jean Habib (University Cluj, Roumania), Diallo Sadio (SC Bastia, France), Feindouno Pascal (FC Sion, Switzerland), Constant Kevin (Genoa, Italy), Soumah Naby (Sfax, Tunisia)
Attackers: Bangoura Ismael (Al Nasr Dubaï, United Arab Emirates), Bangoura Alhassane (Rayo Vallecano, Spain), Conté Ibrahima (La Gantoise, Belgium), Traoré Ibrahima (VFB Stuttgart, Germany), Yattara Ibrahima (Al Shabab, Saudi Arabia), Cissé Karamoko (Albinoleffe, Italy), Camara Abdoul Razzagui (FC Sochaux, France), Barry Ousmane (Etoile du Sahel, Tunisia)