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Last Updated: Friday, 2 December 2005, 10:49 GMT
Togo want Ismael
Valerien Ismael
Ismael is married to a Togolese national
Ignored by France and rejected by Germany, Valerien Ismael is being offered a World Cup lifeline by Togo.

Togo officials have confirmed that they are trying to convince the Bayern Munich defender to avail himself for Togo's trip to the World Cup finals.

Ismael, born in France, will be offered citizenship because he is married to a Togolese national, officials claimed.

The 30-year-old has been in Germany since 2003, playing for Werder Bremen before joining champions Bayern.

In August, he was reported to be keen to take out German citizenship if offered a place in the World Cup hosts' squad for the 2006 finals.

The offer was brushed aside by German coach Jurgen Klinsmann. Ismael has never won any international caps for France.

Togo coach Stephen Keshi was in Paris last month to talk to several French junior internationals of Togolese extraction in an attempt to convince them to seek a switch of international allegiance.

They include Southampton's Yoann Folly, Paris St Germain's Jonathan Tokple and Razak Boukari, the son of a former Togolese international.

Togo will be competing in their first World Cup finals after a surprising several fancied sides to finish top of their qualifying group.


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