Senegal’s opening AFCON Match Will be Without Chelsea Goalkeeper Edouard Mendy After He Tested Positive for COVID-19

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COVID-19 has been found in Senegal’s goalkeeper Edouard Mendy and captain Kalidou Koulibaly ahead of Monday’s clash with Zimbabwe.

COVID-19 has been found in Senegal's goalkeeper Edouard Mendy and captain Kalidou Koulibaly
Senegal’s opening AFCON Match Will be Without Chelsea Goalkeeper Edouard Mendy After He Tested Positive for COVID-19

After testing positive for coronavirus, Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy will miss Senegal’s Africa Cup of Nations opener against Zimbabwe on Monday.

COVID-19 has been found in the blood of all three players, thus Mendy joins the likes of Kalidou Koulibaly and Famara Diedhiou on the sidelines.

In the wake of six players remaining in Dakar after testing positive, the tournament favorites now have a skeletal roster for the match in Bafoussam on Saturday.

Six players – Saliou Ciss, Bamba Dieng, Mame Baba Thiam, Pape Matar Sarr, Nampalys Mendy, and second-choice goalkeeper Alfred Gomis – remained in Dakar on Wednesday after testing positive, leaving the tournament favorites with a thin roster for the encounter in Bafoussam.

COVID-19 has been found in Senegal's goalkeeper Edouard Mendy and captain Kalidou Koulibaly
Senegal Star Sadio Mane and Goalkeeper Edouard Mendy ready for AFCON 2021

Aliou Cisse, Senegal’s head coach, said on Sunday: “It’s a thorny issue that requires careful consideration.

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“But we’re going to be competitive, and those who are present will play for those who are absent from the competition.

“We are still confident that we can win the game against Zimbabwe.”

AFCON: If 11 players are available, the teams must play.

Organizers of the AFCON indicated that teams will be required to play matches even if they are down to 11 players due to Covid-19 incidents.

The tournament will begin on Sunday with Cameroon’s game versus Burkina Faso. The rules about how teams would deal with absentees due to Covid-19 have been clarified.

If a country has at least 11 players who have tested negative, they must play a match; if they don’t have a goalkeeper, an outfield player must step in.

0-2 is the official score for any country that does not have a sufficient number of players to field a team.

Teams will be able to employ a maximum of five substitutes each game, with a total of three substitution options during the contest.

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Each team will be granted one more substitution and one more option for substitution if extra time is played.

Algeria won the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations with a 1-0 victory over Senegal in Cairo, Egypt.

COVID-19 has been found in Senegal's goalkeeper Edouard Mendy and captain Kalidou Koulibaly
Algeria won the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations with a 1-0 victory over Senegal in Cairo, Egypt.

Instead of taking place in June and July of 2021 as initially planned, the tournament will take place in Cameroon from January 9 to February 6, 2022.

COVID-19 has been found in Senegal's goalkeeper Edouard Mendy and captain Kalidou Koulibaly
AFCON 2021 Show Down in Yaounde, Cameroon

Taking place in Yaounde from February 6 to 8, the tournament will feature 24 teams will begin on Sunday with a match-up between hosts Cameroon and Burkina Faso.

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