Football: Keshi backs move to rescind Pitroipa's red card

Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi has warmly welcomed the decision to rescind the red card picked up by Burkina Faso's key attacking midfielder Jonathan Pitroipa.

CAF's decision allows the Rennes star to compete in Sunday's Africa Cup of Nations final against Keshi's Super Eagles at Soccer City stadium.

"I applaud the decision taken by CAF in rescinding Jonathan's red card," Keshi told the traditional pre-final press conferennce here on Saturday.

"If you look at the video, it's very obvious this guy didn't deserve a red card.

"Tomorrow, it's going to be a good game in front of a 90,000 crowd - it's a game where Jonathan should be there, so I'm happy.

"It's not every day you get the chance to play in a Nations Cup final so to deny him that would be rough on him."

Pitroipa was cleared to take part after Slim Jdidi, the Tunisian referee who wrongly sent him for diving in Wednesday's semi-final win over Ghana, admitted the decision was incorrect.

Burkina Faso coach Paul Put was livid at Jdidi after Wednesday's game, and on Saturday commented: "Everybody can make mistakes. At the time we were very angry, but as we'd qualified it was easier to forget.

"If we hadn't qualified, I think I would still have a headache over the affair. I was very happy at the decision to let Jonathan play, it shows that CAF, too, are professional and took the time to check things out."

Jdidi has been suspended after making a series of strange decisions during the game.

"Everyone realised that this referee did not officiate well," CAF president Issa Hayatou has said.

Pitroipa struck the lone goal in the 1-0 extra-time quarter-final win over Togo and also scored in the earlier 4-0 rout of Ethiopia -- the first victory by the Burkinabe at the African football showcase in 19 matches.

He has helped lighten the blow of the Burkinabe losing their best striker, Alain Traore, to injury early in the final group game against Zambia.