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Last Updated: Friday, 2 January, 2004, 17:23 GMT
Pleat makes Kanoute plea
Freddie Kanoute
Spurs boss David Pleat has revealed the club has asked Fifa for confirmation that Frederic Kanoute can play in the African Nations Cup.

Although Kanoute has played for the French Under-21 team, he wants to line up for Mali in the competition.

A new Fifa rule allows players to switch countries if they have not played full internationals.

"We are awaiting confirmation from Fifa that he is eligible to play for Mali," said Pleat.

He added: "There must be all sorts going on in Freddie's mind and I try to see all sides of all problems.

"Do you know the population of Mali? Neither do any of my players. I am sure the population of Mali is looking forward to the African games and I don't know whether their squad has been mentioned in the papers and they are anticipating him.

"But it is a unique problem. It is not like Bolton's Jay-Jay Okocha or Kanu at Arsenal.

"He was always Nigerian and when Arsene signed him, he knew what he was signing and that he knew he would be away.

"But we will know a lot more about the situation in the next couple of days," Pleat admitted.

Kanoute, whose parents come originally from Mali, joined Spurs from West Ham in the summer.

Spurs are desperate not to lose their 3.6m top scorer to a competition which starts in Tunisia on 24 January and ends on 14 February.

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