COVID-19: Sainfelt calls on CAF to put off AFCON qualifiers

COVID-19: Sainfelt calls on CAF to put off AFCON qualifiers

Gambia coach Tom Saintfiet wants CAF to postpone or cancel the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers scheduled for later this month due to concerns about the COVID-19 virus

The 2021 AFCON qualifiers matchdays 3 and 4 will take place across the continent in 15 days. And with the virus already confirmed in a handful of countries in Africa, there are growing fears of more contamination, prompting Kenya’s official request to postpone their home game against Comoros.

The Gambia have seven players currently blocked in Italy, where football and most of the country’s activities have been suspended. Saintfiet says playing without those key players would constitute a ‘huge disadvantage’.

“We can’t be preparing for AFCON qualifiers when some countries will not be able to use their best players, not because of injuries but an international problem,” Saintfiet said.

“We have seven players in Italy. They cannot come home. It would be a huge disadvantage to us. I think the best thing CAF needs to do is to postpone or cancel this month’s game and reschedule them against June.”

The African football’s body is yet to react to the calls but reports suggest it is closely monitoring the situation and could eventually opt for behind closed doors matches.

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