Football

Sierra Leone edge Benin to qualify for AFCON final tournament after 25 years

Sierra Leone now joins the other 23 qualified nations who are waiting for the final tournament draw.

Sinan RAJUB SENOGA 

Sierra Leone 1-0 Benin

The qualification campaign for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) final tournament has officially come to an end with Sierra Leone edging Benin 1-0 in a Group L encounter played in Guinea.

The game was initially supposed to be played in March but was postponed following allegations of Sierra Leone tampering with the Covid-19 test results of Benin players.

CAF scheduled the game for Monday 14th June at the neutral ground in Guinea Conakry but allegations of tampering with Covid-19 test results came up once again.

Six of Sierra Leone players were reported to have tested positive for covid-19, results which were challenged and settled after players of both teams underwent rapid tests and five returned positive.

The game was then pushed to Tuesday night at the Stade General Lansana Conte de Nongo in Conakry.

Coming into the decisive moment, Benin needed only a draw to qualify since they were occupying the second place with seven points, seven behind the already qualified Nigerians.

Sierra Leone were third placed and needed nothing but a win to qualify for the final tournament.

19 minutes into the game, 36 year old striker Kei Kamara scored the winning goal from the penalty mark.

The Leone Stars defended their slim lead until the final whistle to book a berth in the AFCON after 25 years of waiting.

Sierra Leone now joins the other 23 qualified nations who are waiting for the final tournament draw.

The draw of the AFCON tournament was originally scheduled for June 25th but CAF announced a postponement to a date not yet revealed.

The Qualified 24 Teams
Group A
Mali, Guinea

Group B
Burkina Faso, Malawi

Group C
Ghana, Sudan

Group D
Gambia, Gabon

Group E
Morocco, Mauritania

Group F
Cameroon (Hosts), Cape Verde

Group G
Egypt, Comoros

Group H
Algeria, Zimbabwe

Group I
Senegal, Guinea Bissau

Group J
Tunisia, Equatorial Guinea

Group K
Ivory Coast, Ethiopia

Group L
Nigeria, Sierra Leone

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