AFCON qualifier off

Dan Kweku Yeboah

Dan Kweku Yeboah

The much-anticipated clash between Ghana’s Black Stars and the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone has been cancelled by the Confederation of Africa Football (CAF).

 

Ghana was hoping to use the double-header billed for today at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium and the return leg on Monday in Sierra Leone to breathe life into their qualification quest to AFCON 2019 to be staged in Cameroon after falling to Kenya in the previous game.

 

But with the late cancellation, Kwesi Appiah’s Black Stars may engage Ghana Premier League side, Kumasi Asante Kotoko in a trial match to assess the players.

 

According to a statement on the Ghana FA website, Ghana’s Football Association’s (GFA), Normalisation Committee was informed through a CAF communiqué that “the CAN 2019 Qualifier match no. 65 (Ghana vs. Sierra Leone) & 89 (Sierra Leone vs. Ghana) on the 11th and 14th of October respectively have been cancelled.”

 

The said letter signed by Samson Adamu, Director of Competition at CAF, explained the development was “due to the fact that the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) did not meet the conditions stipulated in the letter sent by CAF on FIFA’s decision to suspend the federation.”

 

“As a result, all officials appointed for match no 89 (Sierra Leone vs. Ghana) are not to travel as their mission has been cancelled, likewise, the officials who have travelled for Match no 65 (Ghana vs. Sierra Leone) are requested to travel back home since the match has been cancelled.”

 

Sierra Leone has come under the spotlight of FIFA after her Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) barred two leading SLFA officials President Isha Johansen and General Secretary from the governing body’s offices citing their involvement in corrupt practices.

FIFA, however, viewed the move as unnecessary interference from the government and duly suspended Sierra Leone from international football last week until the elected members were reinstated.

Following an emergency meeting held on Monday with government officials, the Johansen administration agreed to write to FIFA to temporarily lift the ban on the country to enable them play Ghana on the following Saturday in their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.

But FIFA rejected the appeal, insisting that failure to reinstate both SLFA president Isha Johansen and General Secretary Christopher Kamara by a Tuesday 5pm deadline will result in the Leone Stars not being able to play the game against the Black Stars.

The decision to cancel the game has now cleared the cloud of uncertainty over whether the match coming on.

According to the Spokesperson of the Ghana Normalisation Committee, Mr Dan Kwaku Yeboah, the focus of the Stars will now shift towards engaging the Porcupine Warriors in a special friendly match.

CAF, however, is yet to confirm whether the Sierra Leoneans will be kicked out of the qualifiers to reduce the number of countries in the group to three.

When that happens, all points accrued from a game with the Leone Stars will be scrapped.

BY ANDREW NORTEY

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