Johannesburg - Ivory Coast will be without their first-choice goalkeeper Sylvain Gbohouo for their Africa Cup of Nations opener on Wednesday, after the shot-stopper was suspended by Fifa for an alleged doping violation.
"Fifa can confirm that its Disciplinary Committee has provisionally suspended Sylvain Gbohouo on the grounds of doping," a spokesperson for football's world governing body told AFP.
Fifa made its decision on Tuesday evening.
Ivory Coast will play Equatorial Guinea in their Group E clash at Japoma Stadium in Douala at 9pm South African time.
Gbohouo first tested positive for a banned substance on December 26 - trimetazidine - which is a heart medication which World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) regards as a stimulant.
The 33-year-old Gbohouo had already been included in the Ivory Coast squad on December 23, but upon his positive doping result he was provisionally suspended.
Gbohouo appealed the finding as he had hoped to be cleared in time to be available for the start of Afcon. Ivory Coast coach Patrice Beaumelle was also optimistic that Gbohouo would be cleared to play in time.
"We had hope of getting a favourable response from Fifa but yesterday I learned that they were upholding their decision," Beaumelle said.
"It's been really difficult for the player. He’s been here since January 5 not knowing if he'll be able to play. He's not eating anymore, he's lost weight, he's not sleeping. I hope he stays with us, because I think he has an important role to play around the team if he can't be in the team.
"He's a great goalkeeper and an excellent person. It's really hard for him and his family and we are all supporting him because his career isn't finished."