YAOUNDE (Reuters) - Comoros Islands were forced to field a fullback in goal for Monday’s Africa Cup of Nations last-16 tie against hosts Cameroon in Yaounde after being refused permission to use goalkeeper Ali Ahamada, despite him returning a negative COVID-19 test result.
The match was kicking off at 2000 GMT.
All three goalkeepers for the small island nation had been ruled out of the match on the eve of the tie –- one through injury and two after testing COVID-19 positive last week.
On Monday, Ahamada tested negative and was pronounced fit to play by the Comoros Football Federation in a medical bulletin.
But his participation was later ruled out by the Confederation of African Football (CAF), whose medical commission said any player who had been in quarantine would have to wait five days before being allowed to return to play.
Instead, the Comoros will play the 30-year-old Chaker Alhadhur from French second division club AC Ajaccio in goal. It is the first game of the tournament for the left back, who has been part of the national team set-up since 2014.
Comoros said on Sunday they had tested the suitability in goal of several of their outfield players in anticipation of having no goalkeeper available.
Coach Amir Abdou was also missing the match –- the biggest in the footballing history of the country -- with a COVID-19 infection.
He has been the architect of a remarkable rise for the east African island archipelago team, who qualified for the last 16 against all expectations after a shock 3-2 win over Ghana.
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.
(Writing by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Clare Fallon)