Africa Cup of Nations: Delayed Sierra Leone v Benin qualifier to be played Tuesday


The final Africa Cup of Nations tie between Sierra Leone and Benin will be played on Tuesday after Covid-19 issues saw the game delayed just ahead of kick-off on Monday.

The qualifier was once again hit by disagreements over players who returned positive Covid-19 tests, the same issue saw the game called off on 30 March when it was originally due to be played.

Both teams were at the stadium ready for the game when Sierra Leone were informed that six of their players had returned positive Covid-19 tests.

The Sierra Leone delegation complained that in the build up they had been informed by a Confederation of African Football official that the whole squad were negative after tests carried out in Guinea.

The players had also returned negative tests in Sierra Leone on Saturday before they travelled to Guinea for the match, which had been moved as the stadium in Freetown was not up to standard to host a Nations Cup qualifier.

The Sierra Leone delegation complained that they had been informed by a match official (the Caf security officer designed for the match) early in the day that all their players were negative.

The tests left Sierra Leone with 17 players in their squad but without any replacement goalkeepers on the bench.

After meetings at the stadium the Confederation of African Football (Caf) agreed to postpone the matchexternal-link by a further 24 hours, meaning it will kick-off at 1600GMT on Tuesday 15 June.

All six of the players who tested positive returned to the stadium to undergo further testing, with the results set to be revealed before kick-off.

The match will decide the final place at next year’s delayed Nations Cup finals and Benin know a draw will be enough for them to see them through to the tournament in Cameroon.

For Sierra Leone to qualify a 1-0 win would see them through instead of Benin, however they will need a two-goal margin of victory if they concede a goal.

A qualification for Sierra Leone will end a 25-year wait of qualifying for Africa’s number one football showpiece tournament for the west African country.



BBC