By Norman Isaac Mwambazi
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has disqualified Chad from the remainder of the 2021 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers accusing the government of interfering with the affairs of the football federation.
The Chadian Ministry of Youth and Sports dissolved the country’s football federation on March 10, 2021, citing irregularities in the way it was being run. Government interference in the activities of football federations is against FIFA’s rules, and the international football governing body could follow CAF’s footsteps and further ban Chad as well.
The statement released by CAF reads thus:
“Following the withdrawal of the FTF’s approval by the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Chad, CAF has decided to disqualify the Chad national team from the qualifiers for the Total Africa Cup of Nations, Cameroon 2021.
“Consequently, scheduled qualifier matches between Namibia (match 106) and Mali (match 130) for Total AFCON 2021 are cancelled.
“In line with Article 61 read together with Article 64 of the CAF Regulations, Chad is considered a loser of both matches against Namibia and Mali.
“Chad were playing in Group A alongside Mali, Guinea and Namibia. After four match days, Mali tops the group on 10 points, followed by Guinea (8 points) and Namibia (3 points).”
A reminder of the rules:
ARTICLE 61: “If a team withdraws after the start of the group matches without having played half of the group matches, the overall results of the matches in which this team participated is cancelled. Otherwise, if a team withdraws after participating in all the matches in the first half of the group matches, the remaining matches to be played in the said group are lost by penalty three goals to nil”
ARTICLE 64: If for any reason whatsoever, a team withdraws from the competition or does not report for a match, except in cases of force majeure accepted by the Organizing Commission or refuses to play or leaves the ground before the regular end of the match without the authorization of the referee, it shall be considered looser and shall be eliminated for good from the current competition.”
Chad were already bottom of qualifying Group A. Namibia and Mali, who were scheduled to play Chad this week in the last two matchdays ahead of the tournament in Cameroon next January, were awarded 3 – 0 victories.
Mali have already secured a place at the 24-nation finals while Guinea are two points ahead of Namibia in the contest for the other place. Guinea host Mali in Conakry on Wednesday and a victory will ensure a top-two finish while any other result would keep alive Namibia’s hopes.