Keshi applauds CAF decision to clear Pitroipa
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi sportingly welcomed the decision by the Confederation of African Football to clear Burkina Faso's Jonathan Pitroipa to play in Sunday's African Cup of Nations final, but still doesn't know if his own leading strikers will be available.
Keshi said on Saturday it was "very clear" that Pitroipa didn't deserve his red card for diving in the semifinal win over Ghana. The coach added that CAF's decision to rescind the red card and clear the France-based forward for the Burkinabes' first final was correct — and good for the game at Soccer City.
However, Keshi could not yet say if his leading scorer, Emmanuel Emenike, and Chelsea's Victor Moses would recover from their injuries in time. Moses' prospects were improving after he trained on Saturday.
Pitroipa was cleared by CAF on Friday after Tunisian referee Slim Jdidi conceded he made a mistake in sending the player off for diving in Wednesday's match with Ghana.
"It's not every day you get to play in the African Cup of Nations final so denying him that would have been tough," Keshi said at Soccer City. "I applaud the decision taken by CAF by rescinding the red card on Jonathan. When you look at the video ... it's very clear. It's obvious this guy does not deserve a red card."
Keshi said he was "happy" that Pitroipa would now get to play if he was picked for Burkina Faso.
"Having Jonathan should be entertaining, so I'm happy, I'm happy," Keshi said.
Burkina Faso coach Paul Put said he was now able to forgive the referee for a poor performance in Nelspruit before Burkina Faso won in a penalty shootout. If Burkina Faso had lost, it might have been different for Keshi's counterpart.