Organizers of the AFCON have announced that teams will be required to play matches if they have 11 players available, despite the fact that they may be diminished due to Covid-19 cases.
Cameroon’s match against Burkina Faso, which was played on Sunday, kicked off the tournament, which will contain 52 matches, and the rules of how teams would deal with absentees due to Covid-19 have been defined.
Countries will be forced to play a match if they have a minimum of 11 players who have tested negative, with an outfield player from the squad filling in for the goalkeeper if the goalkeeper is unavailable.
Any country that does not have a minimum of 11 players will be regarded to have lost the match by a score of 0-2.
The organizers have said that each team will be allowed to deploy a maximum of five players, with a total of three substitution opportunities during the game.
Teams will be permitted one additional substitution and will have one further substitution chance if extra time is used.
When the competition was moved to Egypt in 2019, Algeria won the title with a 1-0 final victory over Senegal.
According to his club Napoli, Senegal captain Kalidou Koulibaly tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday and is currently self-isolating while on national team duty.
Burkina Faso, meanwhile, has returned five positive COVID-19 tests on the eve of their AFCON opener against hosts Cameroon, according to ESPN.
Why is AFCON taking place now?
This Africa Cup of Nations was supposed to be held in 2021, but a year-long postponement due to the pandemic hasn’t accomplished much.
The tournament will continue, despite an increase in viral infections around the world, this time driven by the omicron variant. As a result, only fully vaccinated supporters with documentation of a negative viral test will be permitted to attend games at any of the six stadiums in the five host cities.
In a country like Cameroon, where less than 3% of the 26 million people are fully vaccinated, only a small percentage of the population is eligible to attend the competition.
Furthermore, attendance will be limited to 60% of a stadium’s capacity or 80% for games involving the host country Cameroon.
There’s a chance that many of the games will be played in near-empty venues, which isn’t unusual for the AFCON.
Virus outbreaks have been reported in many of the teams travelling to Cameroon in the lead-up to the tournament. To ensure that the virus does not dominate the event, the Confederation of African Football and local authorities face a significant hurdle.