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‘Ask questions before taking anything’ – Ex-Nigeria coach John Obuh advises as more Africans are banned by UEFA over doping

Former Nigeria coach John Obuh has advised African footballers to always ask questions before taking any substances when playing for their country.

His advice comes after three African footballers were punished by Uefa last month after they tested positive for banned substances during the Champions League group stages.

Mali players Sekou Koita and Mohamed Camara were handed three-month bans by Uefa in February.

Their clubside RB Salzburg disclosed that they had taken altitude sickness drugs while on international duty in November 2020 which contained a substance banned by UEFA.

Back in February, Cameroon and Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana was banned for 12 months after he took medication prescribed for his spouse.

A banned substance was found in his urine sample after a drugs test in October the same year.

Onana has since rejected the ban saying he will appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but Koita and Camara accepted their punishment.

Obuh, who coached Nigeria’s under 17 and 20 teams has now told footballers to shun drugs and watch what they ingest.

“Everything has its own disadvantages,” Obuh told Goal.

“It is not easy for any player to take any substances given to them by the Federation because most of these young players are so scared that they don’t want to speak out, but if it were to be any player that’s coming from abroad, that’s of African origin, I’m sure the player will ask what that thing is, they don’t just take anything.

“All these unnecessary energy drinks floating everywhere, they could also result in a positive test if they contain any banned substances.

“They just need to be very careful and players should ask questions too, talk to medical personnel and their parents. If they ban the player for two or three years now, the stigma is already on him because it will be in his head that Fifa or Uefa banned him some time ago.”

He went further to cite examples of situations he had encountered while on international assignments.

He continued: “It’s a general thing that I have seen in most of the competitions I’ve attended, but because you asked with respect to African players I want to believe that Africans generally are strong enough except if the person is playing above his age category.

“Most of the time when you declare you can’t perform optimally that’s when you see most of them taking enhancement drugs. Even when you succeed, you will still have the feeling of cheating.

“I have seen a situation where somebody cheated of his age but could not break into the team because the age was lower, and by the time he had to wait for the signing, he was already clocking 30.

“You can imagine the difference if at 30 years, he is playing against 18-year-olds.”

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