Senegal are ready to kick off their 2022 World Cup campaign but they won’t have a key man.
Participating in such a tournament should be the pinnacle of any player’s career, but the Senegalese Keita Balde should miss the chance this time.
The striker was born in Spain but committed his international future to Senegal early on and was part of the squad that won the Africa Cup of Nations title earlier this year.
But the former Lazio player won’t be in Qatar due to a specific rule violation.
Why will Keita Balde miss the World Cup?
Players from all clubs are regularly tested for drugs, and while playing for Cagliari last season, the 27-year-old was called up for a routine test.
He then moved to Russia in the summer to join Spartak Moscow, and after making his debut in September, the Italian Anti-Doping Organization released their conclusion.
They revealed the player returned a negative result but broke protocol.
A statement on the Spartak Moscow website read: “A sample taken from Keita that day did not find any prohibited substances.
“However, in accordance with the disciplinary code, any doping-related sanction imposed by another national or international sports association, a national anti-doping organization, is automatically accepted by FIFA and must be recognized by all confederations and associations.”
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The penalty for violating the anti-doping protocol is a 90-day ban from all football.
Balde’s ban came into effect on September 17 and is due to expire on December 5 – after the end of the World Cup group stages.
But he can resume training 22 days before his ban expires.
Therefore, Balde is expected to miss what would have been a second World Cup.
The good thing for him is that he is only 27 years old and he should have at least one more chance to feature in one of FIFA’s star events.
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