Florent Malouda honoured to play for French Guiana despite eligibility issue
HOUSTON -- Former Chelsea and France midfielder Florent Malouda has told ESPN FC that it was "very emotional" to take to the field for French Guiana in Tuesday's 0-0 Gold Cup draw against Honduras in Houston.
Malouda, who earned 80 caps for France and played in the 2006 World Cup final, started as captain and went the distance against the Catrachos, despite having being ruled ineligible for the match.
Honduras are likely to earn a 3-0 victory via a forfeit following the controversy, but Malouda was still glad to soak up every minute of playing for the nation of his birth, which is an overseas French territory.
"It was great. It was very emotional for me, I've waited a long time for the approval to be able to play," Malouda said. "It's a great honour for me to wear the armband and represent French Guiana in this level of competition, and that's very important for the people in my country as well, and so it's great to be out there."
Next up for French Guiana is their Gold Cup Group A finale on Friday in Frisco, Texas, against Costa Rica, and Malouda is expecting to line up against the Ticos.
"Now I have to recover. [Wednesday] we'll think about that game, but I'm expecting to play," Malouda said.
Following Tuesday's match, CONCACAF issued a statement saying that it is reviewing Malouda's ineligibility issue.
The statement read: "In regards to the election of the French Guiana National Team to field player Florent Malouda in this evening's Gold Cup match against the Honduras National Team, and in line with the CONCACAF Gold Cup 2017 Regulations which are governed by FIFA Regulations pertaining to player eligibility, the matter has been referred to the CONCACAF Gold Cup Disciplinary Committee.
"The Disciplinary Committee will review the case and render its decision in due time."
Arch Bell is based in Austin, Texas and covers CONCACAF for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @ArchBell .