South Sudan’s match versus Jordan in the Fifa Arab Cup qualifiers on Monday has been called off just hours prior to kick-off due to positive coronavirus tests at the African side.
The Bright Stars were hoping to qualify for the competition which serves as a test run for the 2022 Fifa World Cup Qatar, nonetheless, Fifa awarded a win to the Asian side by forfeit.
“Following the confirmation of Covid-19 cases among the South Sudan delegation, the Fifa Bureau for Men’s Senior Tournaments has declared the match scheduled to take place this evening against Jordan as part of the Fifa Arab Cup qualifiers a forfeit with a 3-0 win to Jordan,” Fifa explained in a statement on their website.
“The decision is based on article 5.6 of the competition regulations (“force majeure”) and takes into consideration the need to protect the health of the players and everyone involved in the tournament.
“Upon their arrival in Qatar and as per the protocols established by the Qatari Ministry of Health, all delegations were tested for Covid-19.
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“After two rounds of PCR tests, it was confirmed that seven players and one team member of South Sudan were positive, with another five players receiving a reactive test result, which as per the Qatari Ministry of Health, means that these players were likely incubating the virus.
“Given that another seven players had close contact with those who tested positive, a total of 19 players are currently in isolation. There are no cases presenting severe symptoms and everyone who tested positive is being monitored and receiving the best possible medical care for free through the Qatar national healthcare system.
“Fifa and the local organisers deeply regret this unfortunate situation and wish the delegates of South Sudan a speedy recovery.”
Following the cancellation of this encounter, Fifa has promised to refund the tickets of both teams.
Since playing their first international game against Uganda in 2012, South Sudan are yet to participate in the Africa Cup of Nations or the Fifa World Cup.
Currently, they are ranked as the 47th best team in Africa and no. 169 in the world according to Fifa's June rankings.