AFCON matches to go ahead with as few as 11 players available per team 4 months ago

AFCON matches to go ahead with as few as 11 players available per team

In the absence of a goalkeeper, an outfield player from the team must replace them between the sticks

Africa Cup of Nations organisers have confirmed that countries suffering Covid-19 outbreaks will have to play their matches even if they have only 11 players available.

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The guidelines state that games will still go ahead even if none of the 11 players is a goalkeeper, with any side unable to fulfil a match to be considered to have lost the match 2-0.

In the absence of a goalkeeper, an outfield player from the team must replace the goalkeeper.

However, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) did reveal that in "exceptional cases", the tournament's organising committee "will take the appropriate decision".

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Tournament organisers have also outlined that each country will be allowed to use a maximum of five substitutes - in the space of three 'opportunities' - throughout the match.

Should the game go to extra time, teams will each be allowed one additional substitution.

Algeria are the reigning AFCON champions after winning the 2019 final 1-0 against Senegal.

The tournament's Covid-related guidelines have been met with disappointment, with former Manchester United and Cameroon midfielder Eric Djemba-Djemba suggesting that organisers are 'wrong' to make matches go ahead with a minimum of 11 players.

He told Sky Sports: "It's a shame because if you have 11 players testing positive for Covid you cannot play.

"They need to change the rule.

"I think FIFA need to say something about it because it's very difficult for the players and the national teams.

"I hope Burkina Faso will try to play because it's the beginning of AFCON, but it's very hard to play like that."

Host nation Cameroon will kick-off the tournament against Burkina Faso on Sunday at the Olembé Stadium. Burkina Faso currently have 'four or five' Covid cases within the squad, including the head coach, according to assistant manager Firmin Sanou.

Algeria - whose attack is spearheaded by Manchester City forward Riyad Mahrez - are the reigning champions after winning the 2019 final 1-0 against Senegal.

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