Madagascar suspended football team head coach Nicolas Dupuis, the Frenchman – who led the Malagasy to the quarterfinals in their first-ever CAF Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in 2019 and replaced him temporarily with Eric Rabesandratana.

According to a statement from the Malagasy Football Federation (FMF), the 53-year-old coach “is suspended until further notice and will not be paid during the period of suspension.”

The former Paris Saint-Germain captain Eric Rabesandratana has been named interim coach as Madagascar prepares for the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Benin and Tanzania in June.

The statement accused Dupuis of “interfering in the selection process of the national team’s equipment supplier”. The Moulins native is in open conflict with FMF president Raoul Arizaka Rabekoto, who obtained his ouster against the advice of part of his federation’s executive committee.

In a letter notifying him of his decision, Raoul Arizaka Rabekoto, himself wanted by the Malagasy justice for corruption and in exile abroad since February 2020, blames the Frenchman for his interference in “the management of administrative, commercial and financial affairs” of the FMF.

Dupuis famously led Madagascar to their first-ever AFCON qualification, and then followed that up with a fine display at the tournament in Egypt two years back, as the Barea surprisingly reached the quarterfinals before being outclassed by Tunisia.

However, the side failed to qualify for next year’s AFCON finals in Cameroon, finishing third in their group behind Ivory Coast and Ethiopia. A 4-0 loss at the hands of Ethiopia ultimately cost them a chance of a second consecutive finals appearance.

Dupuis made a name for himself on the international stage when he led Madagascar to victories over Nigeria and DR Congo at the 2019 AFCON.

Madagascar needed a win over Niger last month to secure a second consecutive AFCON appearance, but could only manage a 0-0 draw at home and thus failed to secure a ticket to the finals, which will be held in Cameroon in January and February 2022.