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imbroglio around the Sierra Leone-Benin match in qualifying

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                The Sierra Leone-Benin match in qualifying for the next African Cup of Nations (CAN 2021) did not take place on March 30, 2021 in Freetown.  The Beninese selection learned late that five of its best players have tested positive for Covid, results it refutes.  After heated debates between Sierra Leonean and Beninese leaders, the Squirrels decided to leave.  The fate of this decisive meeting for CAN 2021 is now in the hands of the African Football Confederation.

                                    <p>The <strong>qualifications for the next African Cup</strong> football nations (<strong>CAN 2021</strong>) were to officially end on March 30, 2021, after 18 months of waiting and nearly 150 matches played.  But it may be necessary to wait several more days, even several weeks, before knowing definitively the 24th and last team which will participate in the "CAN 2021" <em>[1] </em>in Cameroon.

The group L of the qualifiers was indeed the scene of an unexpected rebound on Tuesday. The Sierra Leone – Benin meeting, which was to nominate the other qualified team alongside Nigeria, did not take place. The Beninese indeed claim to have learned only three hours before the kickoff of this “final” in Freetown, that five of theirs tested positive for Covid and therefore remained in their bus.

These are five major elements: goalkeeper Saturnin Allagbé, defenders Cédric Hountondji and Khaled Adénon, striker Steve Mounié and midfielder Jodel Dossou. The striker Mickaël Poté, announced a positive time, would ultimately not be concerned.

« It’s deplorable and it’s pushing back African football »

« It’s deplorable and it’s pushing back African football », Plague Dossou. The resident of the French club Clermont Foot recalls that he and Houtondji had the Covid a few weeks ago and therefore cannot have contracted this disease again, they assure. ” Sierra Leoneans were surely not aware of this information., underlines Dossou, who believes in a deception. Medically, it’s impossible for me to have the Covid. Doctors have been clear: we can’t catch him again in less than three weeks “. He adds : “ In addition, we passed more than 5 or 6 tests in the space of a week. They were found to be negative in France and Benin. And when we got home, they took these cases out for us … »

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Scheduled for 4:00 p.m., the meeting was postponed to 7:00 p.m., following the rebellion of Beninese. They were to receive their test results in the morning and not in the afternoon. Discussions then continued between the Sierra Leonean authorities, the Beninese delegation and CAF representatives during the evening. They were very tense and the visitors decided to leave Sierra Leone.

Jimmy Adjovi-Boco, technical advisor to the Minister of Sports of Benin, showed his annoyance, on the sidelines of the negotiations between the two parties. ” There is reason to wonder about the method used by leaders or people of the opposing team, tackle the former player. This is serious and all of this must stop. I hope that our new management at CAF will allow us to move into a new era ».

The CAF, it was evasive as to the follow-up to be given to this case. ” The competent body of CAF is currently investigating the matter and will come back as soon as possible with a decision. She wrote in a statement. The Confederation does not have many alternatives, the period of matches between national teams having ended on March 30. It can postpone this final CAN 2021 qualifying match to June, on the sidelines of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup. It can also sanction Benin and / or Sierra Leone, in this thorny issue …

Interview by Félix Sohoundé Pépéripé,

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[1] The African Football Confederation (CAF) has decided that the competition will continue to be called CAN 2021, despite its postponement to 2022.


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