Senegal’s Keita Balde is set to miss the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, due to a dope ban controversy that began in Italy.
Balde would have been in Aliou Cisse’s squad, but ran into some unexpected trouble in the Serie A. The winger was born in Spain, but elected to play for the country, Senegal, that his father was born in. Balde was also part of the Senegalese team that lifted the Africa Cup of Nations title in January this year.
All players from all clubs are regularly get tested for drugs, and Keita breached a specific rule while playing for Cagliari last season.
After a routine test in Italy, Balde was transferred to Spartak Moscow, a top team in Russia. Soon after making his debut appearance, the results of his drugs test were released by the Italian Anti-doping Organisation. The conclusion was that the test was negative, but that the player had broken a drug test protocol. Spartak Moscow also revealed via their website, that a sample taken from Keita that day found no banned substances.
However, taking in consideration the disciplinary code, any doping-related sanction imposed by another national or international sports association, national anti-doping organisation, is accepted by FIFA and must be recognised by all.
In the past, Liverpool were known to be after the player, which tells how highly he is rated, and how much the Lions of Teranga will miss him. His loss to the team is made greater by the fact that Senegal could also be without Sadio Mane, which would mean a huge double blow for the current Afcon champions.
The punishment for being found to have breached anti-doping protocol is a 90-day ban from all football. With Balde’s case having started on the 17th of September, means he is set to miss out on what would have been his second FIFA World Cup.