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AFCON 2021: Covid-Hit Teams Must Play With Just 11 Players And No Keeper

Egypt captain Mohamed Salah in training
Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah (left) will captain Egypt in their Group D campaign at the Africa Cup of Nations

New guidelines from the Confederation of African Football (Caf) state matches will still go ahead even if none of the 11 players is a goalkeeper. Countries suffering Covid outbreaks will have to play their Africa Cup of Nations matches even if they have only 11 players available.

Any nation unable to fulfil a fixture will forfeit the game 2-0.

The guidance has been issued after several nations reported Covid cases before the tournament starts on Sunday.

Caf said that in “exceptional cases” the tournament’s organising committee “will take the appropriate decision”.

On Friday Egypt delayed their departure for the tournament, which is taking place in Cameroon, and were forced to cancel training after coronavirus cases were reported in their camp.

The Pharaohs, who have won the competition a record seven times, eventually flew to Cameroon on Saturday.

Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was among two players to test positive in the Gabon squad on Thursday.

Guinea were forced to leave behind defender Mikael Dyrestam, midfielder Morlaye Sylla and striker Seydouba Soumah at their training base in Rwanda.

Cape Verde and debutants Gambia were hit by several positive tests last week, while Tunisia have also reported cases from their pre-tournament camp.

The Nations Cup starts on Sunday and Egypt will face Nigeria in their first Group D match on Tuesday (16:00 GMT) – a game which will be televised by the BBC in the UK.

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