Cameroon player Joel Tagueu withdrawn from Afcon due to possible heart defect

Cameroon striker Joel Tagueu, pictured playing for Poruguese club side Maritimo, has been withdrawn from the African Cup of Nations after an anomaly in his coronary artery was detected by team doctor William Ngatchou. EPA/HOMEM DE GOUVEIA

CAIRO - Cameroon have had their request to replace forward Joel Tagueu, ruled out of the Africa Cup of Nations because of a possible heart defect, rejected by the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

However, coach Clarence Seedorf said the team would look to appeal against the decision, which CAF have not revealed themselves.

"We are not satisfied with the decision," Seedorf said.

"We need to go for it again. We hope there will be a change of position.

"We did everything we had to do. We made our request 24 hours before the match and we still remain hopeful. It is only fair for CAF to allow us replace the player."

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Tagueu was withdrawn after a medical examination revealed a possible life-threatening heart defect.

The 25-year-old striker, who plays for Portuguese club Maritimo, had an "anomaly in his coronary artery detected by team doctor William Ngatchou, which risks his life if he were to play," the Cameroon Football Federation said on Monday.

"On the advice of the doctor, the coach has decided not to risk the player, who is leaving the tournament."

The doctor first detected the issue when Cameroon held a pre-tournament training camp in Qatar, and subsequent examinations confirmed his suspicion.

Africa Cup of Nations regulations state that a player can be replaced up to 24 hours before the first game of the team concerned.

"A player on the final list cannot be replaced unless seriously injured at the latest 24 hours at least before the beginning of the first match of his team," the regulations state.

Cameroon got the defence of their title underway on Tuesday with a 2-0 win over Guinea Bissau in Ismailia.

The risk of heart failure during the game is an emotive issue for Cameroon, whose midfielder Marc-Vivien Foe collapsed and died while playing for the Indomitable Lions at the 2003 Confederation Cup in France.

Foe, only 28, collapsed on the field and lost consciousness during the semifinal against Colombia at Stade de Gerland in Lyon.

After attempts to resuscitate him on the pitch, medics spent 45 minutes at the stadium's medical centre trying to restart his heart. He was still alive when he arrived at the centre but died shortly afterwards.

Foe was found later to have suffered from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a heart-related disease.