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Comoros and Gambia tackle big guns Cameroon and Guinea for berth in last eight

By Paul Myers - RFI
Cup of Nations Kenzo Tribouillard AFPArchives
JAN 24, 2022 LISTEN
Kenzo Tribouillard AFPArchives

Cameroon is expected to come to a standstill on Monday night as the Indomitable Lions take on Comoros for a place in the last eight at the Africa Cup of Nations.

The Olembé Stadium in Yaoundé - the venue for the final on 6 February - is likely to be a cauldron of partisan frenzy as the hosts continue their bid for a sixth continental crown.

Tournament debutants Comoros stand in the way of the hosts who finished the group stages in top spot after two wins and a draw.

Comoros moved into the knockout stages as one of the four best third-placed teams.

But they will face the biggest game in their footballing history weakened after the squad was decimated by Covid-19 infections.

The Comoros Football Federation reported 12 cases in their camp on Saturday including their only two fit goalkeepers.

Setback

Coach Amir Abdou said his players would go into Monday night's tie with a makeshift goalkeeper.

"We have already chosen an outfield player who will start as a goalkeeper. He is a player who, during training, showed that he could play as a goalkeeper," said goalkeeping coach Jean-Daniel Padovani without revealing the identity of the player.

First choice Salim Ben Boina suffered a shoulder injury after a collision with the Ghana striker André Ayew during their final game in Group C on 18 January.

The other goalkeepers Ali Ahamada and Moyadh Ousseni are in quarantine after testing positive.

Also out of Monday's match are defenders Kassim Abdallah and Alexis Souahy, midfielders Nakibou Aboubakari and Yacine Bourhane and attacking midfielder Mohamed Mchangama.

Regulations

Tournament rules state that teams must play as long as they have a minimum of 11 players available. If they have no goalkeeper available, another player must play in that position.

Before the sides clash, Guinea take on Gambia - another team excelling in its first appearance at the continent's most prestigious national team competition.

Gambia moved into the knockout stages from Group F following wins over Mauritania and Tunisia as well as a draw with Mali.

"Everybody in the team is very motivated," said Gambia midfielder Saul Marreh.

"Even though we know Guinea are favorites on paper, they should expect a good game. We've played every game like a final and that is the same game plan we have against Guinea.

"Our motivation as players is getting a new challenge and coming out victorious."

Guinea boss Kaba Diawara acknowledged his team was under pressure. "We have to start the game fast and not let them gain confidence."

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