The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations doubleheader games between Ghana and Sierra Leone have been cancelled after the latter failed to meet Fifa’s demands to have their suspension lifted.
Football’s world governing body, last week, decided to suspend the West Africans over governmental interference, demanding that the ousted Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) president Isha Johansen and General Secretary Christopher Kamara – who have been accused of corruption – are reinstated.
Without it, Sierra Leone were bound to forfeit the games against Ghana scheduled for Kumasi and Freetown on October 11 and 14.
A consultative meeting to resolve the matter on Monday saw the Sierra Leone government sidestepping Fifa’s clear directive with rather an appeal signed by Johansen.
But on Tuesday, Fifa rejected the petition and gave Sierra Leone an 1800 CET deadline to follow their directive of reinstating the duo.
“Our appeal has been rejected,” Sierra Leone Football Association president Brima Mazzola Kamara, who replaced Johansen, told Reuters.
“It is not what we were hoping for, especially since this now means the Caf match won’t be happening. Fifa told us that Isha’s reinstatement was a prerequisite for our suspension being lifted, and when we told them she had not returned to work, they denied us.”
Games off, says Caf
Hours after the Fifa deadline elapsed, the Confederation of African Football (Caf) took to its official twitter handle to confirm the cancellation of the doubleheader games.
Breaking news: AFCON Qualifier matches Ghana vs Sierra Leone & Sierra Leone vs Ghana on the 11th and 14th of October respectively have been cancelled as SLFA did not meet the conditions stipulated in the letter sent by CAF on FIFA’s decision to suspend the federation.#AFCONQ2019
— CAF (@CAF_Online) October 9, 2018
Ghana – who had gone ahead with their preparations for the two games against Sierra Leone – now have to break camp.
Officials of the Normalization Committee for the Ghana Football Association have indicated they will place requests to Caf/Fifa for reimbursements of all costs and expenses incurred in their preparations towards the two matches.
As at Tuesday, 19 players had reported to camp from their respective clubs for the international assignments.