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Back of the Net's John Foster on the Africa Cup of Nations-induced selection headache facing Everton boss David Moyes (not really...)
Everton’s Tony Hibbert has been spotted in Gabonese capital Libreville, leading to speculation the gaunt right-back may be playing in the African Nations’ Cup.
Gingery lynchpin Hibbert has no scouting experience, has not been given leave by his club, and is not believed to be working for any media organisations. In addition, he is not eligible to play for Gabon, nor any of the other participants in this year’s competition. Both his parents and all four of his grandparents are English, meaning Hibbert’s international options are limited to England and the Republic of Ireland.
"He missed training on Monday, but I assumed he’d asked the gaffer [David Moyes], and the gaffer assumed he’d asked me", commented assistant boss Steve Round.
"Then we saw the pictures from a Libreville street market of Tony making a last-ditch tackle on a tricky fruit vendor. It has to be him. Nobody else would be wearing a Gabon shirt with ‘Hibbert’ on the back."
Everton are now investigating the absences of other first-team players who may or may not be playing in the African Nations’ Cup.
‘I was doubtful about Seamus Coleman being from the Ivory Coast, but then he showed me on Wikipedia so I had let him go,’ continued Round. ‘I thought Victor [Anichebe] wasn’t going, because Nigeria haven’t qualified, but he told me he was actually from Niger, and I got embarrassed and let him go too.’
‘I was sure Diniyar Bilyaletdinov wasn’t African, but then, I was also sure the Upper Volta was in Bulgaria, and it turns out it’s in Africa, like Tony Hibbert.’
An anonymous source close to Goodison Park has told FourFourTwo that Everton’s stars are planning to take in a safari and do a spot of trekking, before going to Kono to meet Joseph Yobo’s parents.
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