The qualifying series for the Africa Nations Cup finals taking place in Cameroon in January 2022 have been rounded up, with 23 qualifiers emerging from the twelve zones. There is however, one slot yet to be filled.
There were some incidences which culminated in some matches having to be abandoned. One of the abandoned matches would however provide the last qualifier.
In Group K, the match between Ivory Coast and Ethiopia, had to be abandoned in the 80th minute after the referee Charles Bulu collapsed on the pitch. Ivory Coast was however 3-1 up.
It was reported that the match had an unprecedented three referees. Charles Bulu had replaced the original referee for the game, who did not arrived for the kick-off. The replacement for the hospitalized Charles Bulu, was an Ivorian and hence was not allowed to take over the match, the game had to be abandoned.
The abandonment of the Ivory Coast and Ethiopia match did not affect qualifiers from the group, as Madagascar failed to beat bottom-placed Niger after a goalless draw, that meant that Ethiopia will attend their first African Nations Cup finals since 2013.
In the same vein, the Group L match between Sierra Leone and Benin was also abandoned after the Republic of Benin players refused to play the crucial game, following reports that the local authorities in Sierra Leone had declared five of their players to be Covid-19 positive.
In the crucial Group L match Sierra Leone needed to win while Benin required only a draw for the final slot in AFCON finals.
Investigations are on, though the Benin federation has called the situation “a shame for African football” and said it was a tense situation”
There has however been no response from the Confederation of African Football.
The following countries have qualifier for the next Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon:
Group A: Mali and Guinea
Group B: Burkina Faso and Malawi
Group C: Ghana and Sudan
Group D: Gambia and Gabon
Group E: Morocco and Mauritania
Group F: Cameroon and Cape Verde
Group G: Egypt and Comoros
Group H: Algeria and Zimbabwe
Group I: Senegal and Guinea-Bissau
Group J: Tunisia and Equatorial Guinea
Group K: Cote d’ivoire and Ethiopia
Group L: Nigeria
The African Cup was due to be played in January and February this year but was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.