AFCON 2023Q: São Tomé kicked out of qualifiers over missing COVID certificate
Sao Tome and Principe have been kicked out of the qualifiers for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) after forward Luis Leal failed to provide a valid COVID-19 test prior to their preliminary round victory over Mauritius in March.
The experienced Leal scored in the 1-0 first-leg victory. The second leg, also played in Mauritius, finished 3-3 as Sao Tome advanced on aggregate to the pool stages
But an appeal by the Mauritians has been upheld by the Confederation of African Football (CAF), who have awarded them the first leg result 3-0.
“The Caf Disciplinary Board found Sao Tome e Principe Football Federation guilty of fielding an ineligible player for the said match and imposed a forfeit of the match played against Mauritius,” CAF said in a statement on Monday.
Mauritius take their opponents’ place in Group A of the qualifiers, which also includes Nigeria, Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone. The top two teams advance to next year’s finals in the Ivory Coast.
There will be two rounds of qualifiers each in June, September and March to determine the 24 finalists.