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Afcon Qualifier: Caf confirms new date for Sierra Leone vs Benin clash

The Confederation of African Football has announced the postponed Africa Cup of Nations qualification encounter between Sierra Leone and Benin Republic will now take place during the June international window.

The Group L fixture initially billed for Tuesday, March 30, at the National Stadium, Freetown did not take place owing to a Covid-19 controversy.

However, both teams will now square up against one another in three months’ time – a game that will determine the last team to secure a place for Cameroon 2022.

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“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,” a post from Benin Football Federation Facebook page read.

Although Michel Dussuyer’s men arrived at the match venue, they refused to leave their bus after being told within an hour to kick-off that star player Steve Mounie, alongside five others had tested positive for the virus.

The Squirrels did not accept the results produced by their hosts claiming the tests taken 72 hours earlier turned out negative.

“We arrived at the stadium in Sierra Leone to learn that—bizarrely—five starters have Covid. What a comedy sketch!” defender Emmanuel Imorou tweeted.

“We did our own tests 72 hours before the match as planned,” he added. “After the time of the trip, we were tested again in Sierra Leone, and five positive results…the captain, and players from Ligue 1 and Ligue 2.”

Benin Republic also echoed their dissatisfaction with how events turned out in Freetown.

“What is currently happening is a disgrace for African football,” they wrote on their official Twitter handle.

“We hope that the Confederation of African Football will take its responsibilities and—especially—take measures following these decisions.”

The Squirrels lost 1-0 the last time out to Gernot Rohr’s Nigeria, while the Leone Stars recorded a 0-0 draw in Maseru, Lesotho.

Dussuyer’s side needs a draw to guarantee their place in the biennial African football showpiece, while victory for John Keister’s team will send Sierra Leone through.