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Tuesday, 18 February, 2003, 16:39 GMT
Meite 'ignores' Ivory Coast
Meite was born of Ivorian parents in France
Abdoulaye Meite is in good form with Marseille
The Ivory Coast are involved in a tug of war with the Marseille defender Abdoulaye Meite.

Coach Robert Nouzaret says the defender, who has been one of the stars of the French season, has consistently ignored recent call-ups to participate in their training camps across Europe.

"I've called him a lot of times but he does not respond," complained the veteran French coach, who saw his Ivorian team upset Cameroon 3-0 in a recent friendly.

Meiete, who is 22, was born in Paris of Ivorian parents.

"I think some people have told him that he has a chance to play for France and that's why he is ignoring us," said Nouzaret.

Meite participated in a training camp in Nice last year but has never been capped by the Ivorian side.

"These people are messing with his head by saying that he could play for France.

"As far as I know, Meite has not been called up for any French team at the moment.

"I don't mind if players at least tell me, 'coach I want to be left alone to concentrate on my club career'.

"Then at least I respect their courage," said Nouzaret.

The coach says he has no solution to the problem but can only try and persuade the player that his international career would be better served in Ivorian colours.

"He remains a fine player but at the moment he is being badly advised," Nouzaret added.

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