The qualification for the Africa Cup of Nations competition for 2022 has been concluded, and teams that will compete are complete.
The competition which will be hosted by Cameroon will for the first time feature 24 teams after CAF agreed to add eight more countries from the usual sixteen.
Despite the increase in number of countries that will participate, countries like South Africa, Congo DR, Togo failed to qualify for the tournament.
The qualified teams include:
GROUP A : Mali, Guinea.
GROUP B: Burkina Faso, Malawi.
GROUP C: Ghana, Sudan.
GROUP D: Gambia, Gabon.
GROUP E: Morocco, Mauritania.
GROUP F: Cameroon, Cape Verde.
GROUP G: Egypt, Comoros.
GROUP H: Algeria, Zimbabwe
GROUP I: Senegal, Guinea Bissau.
GROUP J: Tunisia, Equatorial Guinea
GROUP K: Ivory Coast, Ethiopia
GROUP L: Nigeria
The 24th team will be either Sierra Leone or Benin Republic.
Republic of Benin refused to play their last game against the Sierra Leonians over COVID-19 test controversy.
The Squirrels accused Sierra Leone of manipulating the COVID-19 test results after six of their first team players tested positive, thus ruling the players out of the crucial qualifier.
Benin Republic needs just a draw to go through while Sierra Leone must get all three points to advance to Cameroon.
Responding to the situation, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) announced on Wednesday that the game between both sides will be played during the international break in June.
“The Africa Cup of Nations organizing committee has decided to postpone the above-mentioned match to the next Fifa international window scheduled for June 2021. We thank you in advance for your cooperation and understanding,” the Benin Football Federation posted on Facebook.
Reacting to the decision taken by CAF, the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) said it would appeal the decision . The Sierra Leonians want to be awarded the 3 points since Benin Republic refused to play the game.
A statement published by the SLFA on Wednesday read, “The Sierra Leone Football Association would like to inform the public that Caf has notified SLFA that the organizing committee of the African Cup of Nations has decided to postpone the match #151 between Sierra Leone and Benin in the 2021 Afcon qualifiers until the next Fifa international window scheduled for June 2021.”
“Caf did not state the yardstick used by the committee to arrive at the said decision.
“Consequently, and in accordance with art. 83, 84 and 85 of the Afcon regulations which adequately address issues around failure to report for a match and/or refusal to play, of which there have been several precedents the Sierra Leone Football Association has resolved to appeal the decision of the Afcon organizing committee.
“SLFA is therefore calling on every Sierra Leonean especially football loving fans to stay calm as the matter is currently being pursued in line with the appropriate statutory provisions.”