Sports News

France captain dropped in wake of player strike

France's national soccer player Patrice Evra (L) sits in the team bus after arriving at the airport in Bloemfontein June 21, 2010. France will play against South Africa on June 22 in Group A of the 2010 World Cup in Bloemfontein. France captain Evra was not in the team to face hosts South Africa in their final Group A match. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

BLOEMFONTEIN (Reuters) - France captain Patrice Evra, who led the players’ protest against the decision to kick Nicolas Anelka out of the World Cup squad, was not in the team to face South Africa in their final Group A match on Tuesday.

Evra was among six changes to the French team for their match against the World Cup hosts in Bloemfontein.

The other players who started against Mexico but are not in the team to face South Africa are Anelka, his Chelsea team mate Florent Malouda, Eric Abidal, Sidney Govou and Jeremy Toulalan. Toulalan is suspended so could not be included in the lineup.

They are replaced by Alou Diarra, who is named as French captain for the first time, Sebastien Squillaci, Gael Clichy, Yoan Gourcuff, Andre-Pierre Gignac and Djibril Cisse.

France’s major overhaul came after coach Raymond Domenech suggested on Monday several players might not wish to play in the wake of Sunday’s training ground strike and the sending home of Anelka.

Hosts South Africa also rung the changes, making five in total, as coach Carlos Alberto Parreira had promised overnight.

South Africa surprised by leaving out Teko Modise, introducing Bernard Parker in a more attacking role. Anele Ngcongoa comes in at right back in place of Siboniso Gaxa and Thanduyise Khuboni gets a first Word Cup run in place of Reneilwe Letsholonyane.

The other two changes were enforced by suspension with Moeneeb Josephs replacing Itumeleng Khune in goal and MacBeth Sibaya coming in for Kagisho Dikgacoi in the defensive midfield position.

Editing by Nigel Hunt; To query or comment on this story email