Comoros AFCON squad ravaged by COVID-19

2022-01-23 20:16:20
Comoros AFCON squad ravaged by COVID-19

Comoros, the surprise team of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), is struggling to put a team together for their last-16 game against host nation Cameroon after 12 players and management tested positive for COVID-19.

According to a statement by the country’s soccer body, the 12 positive tests include both of the Coelacanths' fit goalkeepers, with the third goalkeeper, Salim Ben Boina already injured. Comoros are due to face Cameroon on Monday.

In a video posted on the account, general manager El Hadad Hamidi also named five outfield players who have tested positive: midfielders Nakibou Aboubakari, Yacine Bourhane, striker Mohamed M'Changama and defenders Kassim Abdallah and Alexis Souahy.

The AFCON debutants will now have to put an outfielder in goal as all three of their recognized goalkeepers are unavailable.

The island nation sprung a huge surprise by qualifying for the last 16 in their maiden appearance at the competition, and will now face the Indomitable Lions.

Confederation of African Football rules for the tournament dictate that teams must play games as long as at least 11 players test negative for the COVID-19

If no goalkeeper is available, an outfield player has to stand in.

"We are trying to do everything in our power to find alternative solutions" but "without the coach, without major players and especially without our only two goalkeepers who remained, the situation is quite complicated", admitted Hamidi.

The Comoros, representing a tiny island nation off the south-east coast of Africa, snatched their qualification to everyone's surprise by beating Ghana 3-2 and advancing as one of the best third-placed sides thus writing a fairy-tale in its first major tournament.

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