CAF removes Sierra Leone from 2019 Africa Cup of Nations over FIFA suspension

Published on: 03 December 2018
CAF removes Sierra Leone from 2019 Africa Cup of Nations over FIFA suspension
Sierra Leone

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has removed Sierra Leone from the 2019 African Nations Cup qualifiers after the country was suspended by FIFA.

Sierra Leone’s defiance of global football governing body FIFA has led to the CAF Executive Committee removing them from the teams playing in Group F of the qualifiers leaving just Ghana, Kenya and Ethiopia in the group.

The decision to remove the country was taken during the Executive Committee meeting held in the Ghanaian capital of Accra on Friday.

"The Extraordinary meeting of the Executive Committee of Caf met in Accra, Ghana on Friday (November 30),” Kenya FA President Nick Mwendwa told the Daily Nation.

"One of the decisions made at the meeting was to remove Sierra Leone from the list of competitors in our group.

"We are now waiting for the official letter from Caf, but we have already qualified. We expect the letter from Caf this week."

The decision to remove Sierra Leone from the qualifiers means Kenya and Ghana qualify for the biannual tournament from Group F.

Kenya will stay top of the group with seven points after two wins and a draw with just one match remaining in the group.

Ghana will stay one point behind Kenya in second place after defeating Ethiopia 5-0 and 2-0 in Kumasi and Addis Ababa respectively.

The decision to remove Sierra Leone from the group leaves Ethiopia with just one point as they lose the three points amassed from their win over the Leone Stars in September in Awasa.

FIFA suspended the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) two months ago due to government interference in soccer affairs, specifically protesting the removal of SLFA president Isha Johansen and general secretary Christopher Kamara.

Sierra Leone authorities, who had petitioned FIFA to get the ban lifted, did not meet a deadline to reinstate ousted football association president Isha Johansen, who is accused of corruption by government officials.

Johansen and Christopher Kamara both deny any wrongdoing.

The country’s Anti-Corruption Commissioner, Francis Kaifala, has slammed FIFA, calling their suspension of the country an attack on Sierra Leone’s sovereignty.

“Corruption is the biggest emergency Sierra Leone faces right now, and these actions from FIFA are nothing less than a violation of our national sovereignty,” Kaifala said.

“They may have their rules but we also have our own and will not be bullied around. We will play the game in our hearts even if they bar us from playing with them.”