Benin Refuses To Play Sierra Leone Amid COVID-19 Controversy

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It was a dramatic final day of qualifying for the 2021 AFCON tournament in Cameroon as Benin Republic refused to play a key Group L Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Sierra Leone on Tuesday after challenging positive COVID-19 tests for six of it’s players.

There were five qualifying places up for grabs and Cape Verde, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau and Mauritania took four with Benin or Sierra Leone set to join them.

However, the match between Sierra Leone and Benin was postponed after the Squirrels refused to accept the alleged results of the COVID-19 tests presented to them by the hosts.

Despite arriving at the National Stadium in Freetown for the game, the Benin team refused to leave their bus after being told within an hour before kick-off that six players, including star striker Steve Mounie , would be prevented from playing after tests showed they have tested positive for COVID-19.

Image of CAF officials and Benin Republic delegates after the Benin players refused to go to the stadium after COVID-19 reports.

Rows over COVID-19 tests have plagued African football since last year with host national teams and clubs accused of producing false positive results to deprive opponents of stars.

Talks between Sierra Leone, Benin and Confederation of African Football (CAF) officials in Freetown failed to resolve the standoff as both squads remained in their hotels.

Benin hold a three-point lead over Sierra Leone in Group L and both teams have a chance of finishing runners-up to Nigeria.

More to follow….


Chidi Nwoke.

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