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Cheick Tiote Plays For His Country Despite Pardew Claims Of Not Being Fit

5 years ago
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Cheick Tiote played his first competitive football on Saturday, the Newcastle midfielder starting for Ivory Coast as they beat Sierra Leone 2-1.

Despite dominating the match, Tiote and his teammates had a scare as ex-Middlesbrough striker Kei Kamara gave the visitors the lead just before half-time.

cheick tioteHowever, goals from Doumbia on 65 minutes and an excellent individual goal from Gervinho three minutes later, brought the home team victory in this African Cup of Nations qualifier.

The match almost didn’t take place due to Ivory Coast worries of the virus Ebola being brought into the country, the game going ahead after Sierra Leone gave assurances that only players based outside their country would take part in the match.

From a Newcastle perspective, it was a surprise to many fans to see Cheick Tiote fit enough to start the game, considering Alan Pardew’s repeated assertions that the midfielder was injured and that he was going to ask Ivory Coast to allow the player to stay on Tyneside to get back to fitness.

Tiote was one of a number of mysteries of pre-season at St.James’ Park, only playing one friendly against Sheffield Wednesday. The midfielder traveling to the Schalke Cup and sitting on the bench, whilst he was named in the squad to go to New Zealand and was due to meet the other players after flying separately, yet didn’t turn up and no explanation given by the club as to his absence.

The good news for us all though is that he is ‘fit’ again and back playing, especially in the light of [intlink id=”46977″ type=”post”]Siem De Jong\’s long-term injury[/intlink]¬†and the fact Jack Colback also has injury problems.

The Ivory Coast have another match on Wednesday so fingers crossed that there are no setbacks for Cheick Tiote, ahead of Saturday’s match at Southampton.

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