A painful blow to Esperance before facing Al-Ahly of Egypt
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) Disciplinary Committee announced the suspension of Tunisian Esperance striker Taha Yassine Khenissi for one year for violating anti-doping rules. And he tested positive for a banned substance from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) during his team’s match against Algeria’s Mouloudia Algiers in the last sixth round of the group stage of the European Champions League on the tenth of last April. The suspension constitutes a painful blow to the next Esperance against Al-Ahly, the defending champion, in the semi-finals. The committee decided to punish Mouloudia Algiers goalkeeper Ahmed Boutaka and his colleague striker Abdelnour Belkheir for a year as well, for their assault on Botswana’s Joshua Bondo, the referee of their team’s match against Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca in the second leg of the quarter-finals of the prestigious continental competition. The committee stated, “After the final whistle, Mouloudia Algiers players Abdelnour Belkheir and Ahmed Boutaqa assaulted the referee by kicking him in the leg. The referee issued a red card to the players due to violent behavior.” Wydad Casablanca won with a single goal and reached the semi-finals after the first leg match in Algeria ended in a 1-1 draw. She added, “The suspension of Abdelnour Belkheir and Ahmed Boutaqa for a period of twelve (12) months. Players are suspended from participating in all competitions organized by the African Confederation, including club competitions as well as those for national teams.” The committee imposed a fine of $25,000 on MCA for inappropriate and unfortunate behavior against the referee of the match in question.