Former Mali and Tottenham striker Frederic Kanoute has revealed the club tried to prevent him from going to the Africa Cup of Nations in 2004.
Kanoute spent two years at Spurs between 2003 and 2005 after joining the club from West Ham.
Having grown up in France, Kanoute had only featured for the Under-21 side at international level during his time at Lyon early on in his career.
Once he entered his mid-20s, Kanoute had never been selected for the senior side and opted to switch allegiance to Mali in 2004, with FIFA changing the rules allowing players to play for the country of their parents’ birth.
The decision caused confusion at Tottenham, who believed he was ineligible to represent Mali at the Africa Cup of Nations that year (Guardian).
Kanoute was eventually granted permission to play at the tournament, and he has since opened up on that fact the fact Spurs tried to block him from leaving the club mid-season.
He told RMC Sport: “Imagine the reaction from my club at that time, and I had to explain to them… I had to be rather firm too, because they really tried everything to keep me from going.
“I had a meeting with the manager, who brought me to his office. He tried everything, but I told him I would be going.”
Spurs Web Opinion
It isn’t much of a surprise that Spurs tried to block Kanoute from leaving from AFCON. Spurs clearly didn’t want to lose one of their strikers during the season and the rules were brand new so there was obviously going to be some confusion.
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