Geoffrey Kondogbia cleared for CAR but will wait for debut

By Oluwashina OkelejiFrance
Geoffrey Kondogbia
Valencia's Geoffrey Kondogbia was an unused substitute for France in a 2014 World Cup qualifier against Belarus

Valencia midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia has been cleared by Fifa to swap national allegiances to play for Central African Republic (CAR).

The 25-year-old chose to switch to CAR after playing five times for the French senior team and helping them win the 2013 Under-20 World Cup.

All those appearances were in friendlies allowing him to swap to CAR with Fifa permission.

Injury meant he had to withdraw from CAR's latest squad.

He had been called up coach Raoul Savoy for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Guinea on 9 September.

Football's world governing body cleared him to play for CAR as he holds dual nationality and has not played for France in a competitive fixture.

CAR will count themselves lucky as Kondogbia was an unused substitute when France played a 2014 World Cup qualifier against Belarus in September 2013.

If he had come onto the pitch at all he would have been ineligible to play for CAR.

Kondgobia, whose older brother Evans has five caps for CAR, had been expected to join up with his prospective teammates this week in the Senegalese seaside resort of Saly.

Savoy called up unattached France-born striker Quentin Ngakoutou as a late replacement for Kondogbia, who has swiftly reassured the Swiss coach of his availability for the double-header against Ivory Coast in October.

Kondogbia began his professional career at Lens, before switching to Spanish club Sevilla in July 2012, stints at Monaco and Inter Milan followed ahead of a move to Valencia in August 2017.

Meanwhile, another former France youth international Frederic Nimani, who plays for Swiss club Xamax, has been cleared by Fifa and is expected to make his debut against the Group H leaders on Sunday.

CAR are second in the group after they beat visiting Rwanda 2-1 in the opening group fixture in June 2017. Guinea remain top on goal difference after a 3-2 away win in Ivory Coast.

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