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CAN Qualifiers: Sierra Leone

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                The match between Sierra Leone and Benin, decisive for qualifying for the CAN, did not go as planned on Tuesday.  The Beninese questioned the six positive cases detected in its workforce and refused to play the match.  The Beninese side Emmanuel Imorou recounts the events from the inside for France 24.
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                                    <p>The CAN always offers its share of twists, on and off the field.  For the sixth day of the African Cup qualifiers, these came from the match between Sierra Leone and Benin, which should have been played Tuesday, March 30 at the Freetown stadium.  He never debuted.

The delegation of the Squirrels of Benin was unhappy after several positive cases were detected in its team shortly before the match, including the best elements Steve Mounié or Jodel Dossou.

The federation is suspicious as to the timing of the announcement and its veracity: “We were tested on Saturday evening in Cotonou, 72 hours before the match, as per protocol. On our delegation of 80 people, we had zero negatives. We were tested. traveled on Sunday and was retested here. And there, five positive cases, five of our holders … All announced after we unveiled our composition “, says Emmanuel Imorou, side of Benin, joined by France 24.” Except that in protocols, they are supposed to announce the results 6 hours before the start of the match … ”

“They announced it on plain paper … with the names of the positive players written in a pen,” he laughs.

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Under these conditions, the team, coached by Frenchman Michel Dussuyer, arrived at the Freetown stadium but refused to get off the bus. Emmanuel Imorou posted on Twitter images from the Beninese bus, show the vehicle blocked by the crowd:

“We never got off the bus. It’s Knysna bis!”, Laughs the former Caennais. “We stayed for about three hours and then we went back to the hotel. There, it was a bit tense between the two camps.”

In a tweet, the Beninese federation called the events “shameful for African football” and called on the African Football Confederation (CAF) to take responsibility.

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<p><a href="https://twitter.com/Benin_FBF/status/1376948648559452160" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The match was initially announced postponed</a> at 7 p.m. GMT (9 p.m. KST) but it also didn't start at that time.  And for good reason: the delegation was back at the hotel.

“We’re at the hotel but we don’t have a room. We wait but I don’t even know what we’re expecting,” sighs Emmanuel Imorou. “There would have been a meeting and we’re waiting to hear from them. It’s more of our responsibility now.”

This new controversy is added to that of the lawn of the stadium in Freetown. The Siaka Steven Stadium had indeed been suspended due to its dilapidation, but the sanction was exceptionally lifted by the African Football Confederation (CAF) on March 11, on the basis of the new wave of the Covid-19 pandemic and current travel restrictions. The suspension was only lifted while qualifying for CAN-2022 was completed.

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<p>To qualify, Sierra Leone absolutely had to win by at least two goals.  Otherwise, the qualifying place would go to Benin.  A victory on the green carpet in either direction would therefore qualify the team that would benefit from it.


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Source site www.france24.com

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