French Guiana coach 'perturbed' with delay over Florent Malouda ban
FRISCO, Texas - French Guiana head coach Jaïr Karam says that he and his team were left feeling "perturbed" by CONCACAF's delay in issuing a suspension for midfielder Florent Malouda.
The former Chelsea star had appeared in French Guiana's 0-0 Gold Cup draw versus Honduras on Tuesday and had hoped to be back on the field for their Group A finale on Friday against Costa Rica.
However, late Thursday night CONCACAF ruled that Tuesday's match would result in a 3-0 forfeit victory for Honduras, and that Malouda was ineligible for the clash against the Ticos, which complicated things for Karam and his staff.
"I didn't have the preparation that I wanted," said Karam in his postmatch news conference. "The pressure of not knowing whether Malouda would play played a big role in this competition.
"The last few days have been very difficult with the Malouda case, and the waiting on the decision throughout the night really perturbed the group. But the experience was something that was unlike any other and we definitely learned as much as possible here."
Without Malouda on the field, who was instead seated in a suite in the stadium, French Guiana fell 3-0 to Costa Rica and depart the Gold Cup with an official 0-3-0 record.
Nevertheless, Karam was able to extract a positive of French Guiana's Gold Cup campaign.
"Honestly, when you lose quality players it's difficult. Especially when we have a team that is a mix of pros and amateurs, so when you lose players of that type of stature it's difficult," Karam said.
"But there are some young players who have shown us that they have the quality and something to show to MLS and I hope they took a good look at them."
Arch Bell is based in Austin, Texas and covers CONCACAF for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @ArchBell .