Afcon 2021: Confusion in Comoros keeper crisis as Ahamada tests negative & travels but doesn't meet isolation criteria

CAN 2022 - Ali Ahamada ComoresGetty Images

Comoros hope they will not need to play an outfield player in goal for their Africa Cup of Nations round of 16 meeting with hosts Cameroon in Yaounde on Monday after stopper Ali Ahamada returned a negative coronavirus test on the morning of the match.

The islanders - making their Afcon debut - revealed on Sunday they were preparing to use an outfield player in goal for their knockout game against the Indomitable Lions after all three of their goalkeepers were ruled out of the game.

Ahamada and third-choice stopper Moyadh Oussenini both returned positive coronavirus tests over the weekend, while Salim Ben Boina - who delivered a heroic performance against Morocco in the group stage - is still recovering from a shoulder injury.

What is the latest news?

However, L’Equipe - after speaking with the player on Monday - declared that Ahamada will be available to take to the field against Cameroon after receiving a negative Covid result on Monday following tests on Sunday.

Confusion continues to reign, though, as it has been suggested that Ahamada does not meet the criteria of having isolated for five days.

There is no official rule in place regarding quarantine periods and, with that in mind, a 30-year-old shot-stopper has travelled with the rest of his team-mates on a flight out of Garoua.

It is hoped that he will be cleared to compete in a historic encounter for his country, with any need to name an outfield player in goal being avoided, but no definitive decision has been made as yet.

Comoros, ranked 132nd in the world, are enjoying a memorable maiden performance at the biennial tournament, having defeated Ghana 3-2 on Tuesday to eliminate the four-time champions and advance to the knockout stage at their expense.

Their excitement for the meeting with the Indomitable Lions on Monday was dampened however by 12 positive coronavirus cases in the camp, including both goalkeepers and head coach Amir Abou.

What was said?

Goalkeeper coach Jean-Daniel Padovani, speaking on the eve of the match, had revealed that Comoros would be forced to use an outfield player in goal for the biggest match in the country’s footballing history.

"We have met with the staff, talked things through, got all the healthy players together and tried to put things into perspective," Padovani told journalists in Sunday's pre-match news conference.

"We have got some potential goalkeepers, and we are laughing about it, we prefer to approach it this way. It is funny.

"We have not exactly identified who will play in goal yet and even if we had, I wouldn't tell you,” he added.

"There are some who have shown during training sessions that they can play as a goalkeeper, but it's a strange situation, so we're working through all possible solutions."

Who will play in goal for Comoros?

Ahamada was understood to have been isolating in Garoua after receiving a positive test result alongside other affected players including Nakibou Aboubakari, Yacine Bourhane, Mohamed M'Changama, Kassim Abdallah and Alexis Souahy.

He will now travel to Yaounde on Monday in order to take part in the clash, which kicks off at 8pm local time.

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Even without a recognised goalkeeper, Comoros would have been forced to honour the fixture against Cameroon as per a Caf directive issued before the tournament which outlined that teams would be required to play a match if they had a minimum of 11 players available.

"In the event of the absence of a goalkeeper,” the Caf statement read, “another player from the team must replace the goalkeeper, provided the total number of available players is at least eleven."

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