Sao Tome and Principe has been restored into Group A of the qualifying series for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations finals after the CAF Appeals Board threw out Mauritius from the pool following the successful appeal of the former.
The case has done a yo-yo with São Tomé and Príncipe winning on the field of play, Mauritius winning their case at the Disciplinary Board against the former for fielding a player who tested positive for COVID19, and the Appeals Board now restoring São Tomé and Príncipe to the race and ejecting Mauritius.
Mauritius had protested to CAF that São Tomé and Príncipe player, Luis Leal Dos Anjos did not undergo the obligatory PCR test during their match on 24th March 2022 in the frame of the AFCON 2023 qualifiers, but the Appeal Board ruled that “given that neither the CAF Disciplinary Code nor CAF’s COVID-19 protocols provide any sanctions for missing an obligatory PCR test, it is legally baseless to consider the player in question to be ineligible.”
Head Coach of Nigeria, Jose Santos Peseiro woke up to the news in New Jersey, where the Eagles play Ecuador in a friendly match on Thursday, and simply said: “We are focused on the friendly game with Ecuador. It is neither here nor there. We play whoever is in front of us.”
The latest decision means the NFF’s plans for the away match on 13th June, after the game against Sierra Leone in Abuja on 9th June, have now been diverted from east (Mauritius) to west (Marrakech), as São Tomé and Príncipe do not have an approved playing ground in their country and play their home matches in the dainty Moroccan city.