AFCON qualifiers: Absent teams will forfeit games

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Any national team that fails to play in upcoming qualifying matches for the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations due to Covid restrictions will be deemed to have lost the game, new guidelines say.

The guidelines, put out by the Confederation of African Football (CAF), also say a team will be considered to have lost 2-0 if it is unable to field the minimum number of players required – 11 plus four substitutes.

Normally, squads for these qualifying matches would be much larger, but some national team managers have expressed concern about their ability to get players, especially those based in Europe, to play in Africa amidst fears they could get Covid.

During the last break, Crystal Palace’s Jordan Ayew and Liverpool’s Naby Keita both contracted the virus while on international duty.

The Gambia coach Tom Saintfiet has complained that Polish side Gornik Zabrze have so far said that Alasana Manneh will not be allowed to join up with the Scorpions.

The guidelines also say that all matches must be played behind closed doors, although national FAs can ask for special permission to have fans in.

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