Harambee Stars chances of making it to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations have been boosted after the Confederation of African Football (CAF) called off Sierra Leone's back-to-back qualifying matches with Ghana.
CAF in a letter sent to the Sierra Leone's Football Association (SLFA), said that the country did not conform with the conditions for the lifting of a FIFA-imposed suspension on the country's federation and hence the cancellation of their double header against Ghana that was to take place on match days 3 and 4. CAF further confirmed that the Leone Stars' last two games against Kenya and Ethiopia would be decided at a later date.
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“We have cancelled the games against Ghana as SLFA did not meet the conditions stipulated in the letter sent by CAF on FIFA's decision to suspend the federation. For the two last qualifying days for the Total African Cup of Nations 2019, the CAF Executive Committee will decide in due course depending on the Federation of Sierra Leone statement," part of the letter sent to the SLFA reads.
On their portal, the African football's governing body also confirmed that the matches will not be rescheduled but the continental body did not clarify whether the games will be awarded to Ghana.
"Following the FIFA’s decision to suspend the Sierra Leone Football Federation, CAF confirmed the cancellation of both matches between Ghana and Sierra Leone on 11 October in Kumasi, Ghana and the 14 October in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone team will not be allowed to participate in the qualification of the Total African Cup of Nations 2019 unless a confirmation that the conditions stipulated in the Bureau of FIFA Council’s letter has been fulfilled," the statement noted.
On Tuesday, FIFA rejected a request by the SLFA - signed by Isha Johansen in her capacity as President - to lift the suspension imposed last week. The request was made after an emergency meeting of SLFA and Sport Ministry officials which was aimed at trying to convince FIFA to rescind the ban.
FIFA had banned Sierra Leone from participating from any football related activity because of sanctions imposed on the SLFA President Isha Johansen and General Secretary Christopher Kamara both having denied any wrongdoing.