There is only one ticket left for the African Cup of Nations (CAN), which Sierra Leone and Benin could not compete for due to a coronavirus tangle on Tuesday, March 30. Six “Squirrels” from Benin tested positive for Covid-19 upon arrival in Freetown, the Sierra Leonean capital, including the best elements Steve Mounié and Jodel Dossou, and could not participate in the decisive match.
“CAF [Confédération africaine de football] made the decision to cancel the match “Sierra Leonean Football Association spokesman Ibrahim Kamara told AFP late in the evening. He said that no new date had been set, pending a decision from the CAF, but that the officials of the two selections had accepted that new tests for the detection of Covid-19 be carried out.
The delegation of the Squirrels of Benin had expressed its great dissatisfaction after six positive cases were detected in its team shortly before the match. The team, coached by Frenchman Michel Dussuyer, arrived at Freetown stadium but did not get off the bus, according to a senior sports ministry official.
Cancellation of the match
Images circulating on Twitter, filmed from the Beninese bus, showed the vehicle blocked by the crowd. Negotiations continued for several hours between representatives of the two countries, and the start of the meeting was postponed several times, until the final announcement of its cancellation.
Sierra Leone need a two-goal victory to qualify, otherwise Benin will go to CAN. In other meetings, Guinea-Bissau largely dominated the Congo (3-0) to win its place in Cameroon.
Four other countries qualified for the CAN on Tuesday: Mauritania, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde. The Mauritania of Corentin Martins won in the Central African Republic (1-0) and passes at the expense of Burundi, beaten anyway in Morocco (1-0).
Ethiopia, although beaten in Côte d’Ivoire (3-1), kept one point ahead of Madagascar. The “Bareas” (zebus) Malagasy missed the boat by being unable to beat Niger (0-0), yet already eliminated. Finally Cape Verde secured its place by winning in Mozambique (1-0).
The 2021 edition of the CAN has been postponed in Cameroon, from January 15 to February 28, 2022 due to the global pandemic.