FIFA expects to rule tomorrow on Frederic Kanoute’s application to register as a Mali player in time to play in the African Nations’ Cup.
The decision will be taken by the Tunisian Slim Aloulou who will be in Zurich at the world governing body’s headquarters in his capacity as president of the players’ status committee.
Ironically, Tunisia is the venue for the African finals which run from January 24 to February 14. Kanoute has no doubt his application, which will mean a four-week absence from Premiership duty with Tottenham Hotspur, will be approved.
His agent, Willie McKay, said: “His mind is made up and he is definitely going. This is not a recent issue it one that has been dragging on for about three years.
‘I would like him to stay at Spurs, but when someone has made their mind up and they have given their word and promised to play for their country then that is it.”
The formal application seeking permission for Kanoute to sever links with France, for whom he appeared at under-21 level, must come from the Mali federation.
A Fifa spokesman said the application was expected today. Regulations demand a ‘written and substantive request’ which is then considered by the players’ status committee or its chairman sitting alone.
Fifa’s regulations were amended last October easing the way for players to undertake one change of national team status in their career as long as they have not appeared for the first country in a senior international.
Kanoute was born in Lyon but his father was born in Mali for whom Kanoute had played in one unofficial international back in 1998.
His application will be among several under consideration. But already the new rules have been applied in favour of the French youth defender Antar Yahia who scored the winner on his representative debut for Algeria on Saturday in an Olympic Games qualifier against Ghana.
Tottenham’s acting manager David Pleat still hopes his top scorer, who hit a hat-trick in Saturday’s 3-0 FA Cup win over Crystal Palace, will put club before country.