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22nd Jan 2022

Comoros facing goalkeeping crisis as 12 players test positive for covid before AFCON clash

Daniel Brown

The two remaining fit keepers have been affected 

Comoros are facing a goalkeeping crisis before their Africa Cup of Nations Round of 16 clash against Cameroon on Monday.

The tournament giant-killers created history last week as they secured their first-ever win in AFCON to knock out four-time winners Ghana in a five-goal thriller.

It was a night of firsts for the island nation as they kicked off proceedings by scoring their first ever goal at an AFCON tournament as El Fardou Mohamed Ben Nabouhane put them ahead just four minutes into the game.

Despite Ghana pulling level to make it 2-2, Amir Abdou’s side were able to grab a sensational winner and ensure their progression into the knockout stages of the competition.

However, the tournament debutants – who face-off against five-time champions Cameroon in Yaounde on Monday – have been hit by 12 positive Covid cases, including manager Abdou.

As reported by the BBC, seven players have been affected, including the two remaining fit keepers in the squad – Moyadh Ousseini and Ali Ahamada – with first-choice shot-stopper Salim Ben Boina also out injured.

“We will do everything in our power to find a solution,” said general manager El Hadad Himidi.

Himidi added: “It’s the coach and the only fit goalkeepers, so the situation is really complicated.”

Prior to the start of the tournament, the Confederation of African Football (Caf) confirmed that countries suffering covid-19 outbreaks will have to play their matches even if they have only 11 players available.

“A team will be required to play a match if they have a minimum of 11 players available who have tested negative,” stated Caf.

“In the event of the absence of a goalkeeper, another player from the team must replace the goalkeeper, provided the total number of available players is at least 11.

“In exceptional cases, the Organizing Committee of the Africa Cup of Nations will take the appropriate decision.”

Considering that Ben Boina was injured after a red-card challenge by Ghana captain Andre Ayew, Comoros will hope that his absence will be treated as an exceptional case – which could lead to the game being postponed. 

The minnows progressed to the last 16 as one of the four best third-placed sides, with their 3-2 win against the Black Stars shocking the four-time champions, and indeed the world.

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