The Confederation of African Football has announced that Ghana’s upcoming 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Sierra Leone have been cancelled.
This was after the Sierra Leonean government failed to meet a FIFA deadline on Tuesday to re-instate Football Association president Isha Johansen and General Secretary Christopher Camara who removed from office by the country’s anti-corruption agency.
A statement released on Twitter on Tuesday evening read: ”AFCON Qualifier matches Ghana vs Sierra Leone & Sierra Leone vs Ghana on the 11th and 14th of October respectively have been cancelled as SLFA did not meet the conditions stipulated in the letter sent by CAF on FIFA’s decision to suspend the federation.”
Following an appeal by the SLFA to lift the ban on the country to enable them play Ghana, FIFA refused and gave a Tuesday 5pm deadline for the two senior officers to be reinstated.
But Sierra Leone’s Anti-Corruption Commissioner boss, Francis Ben Kaifala in a meeting with government officials and sports minister Ibrahim Nyelenkeh maintained that the ACC position remains the same after the deadline had elapsed.
“Our appeal has been rejected,” Sierra Leone Football Association president Brima Mazzola Kamara, who replaced Johansen, told Reuters.
“It is not what we were hoping for, especially since this now means the CAF match won’t be happening. FIFA told us that Isha’s reinstatement was a prerequisite for our suspension being lifted, and when we told them she had not returned to work, they denied us.”
“The Anti-Corruption Commission will not stand for its judgement to be circumvented by FIFA or anyone else. Now we just need to wait and see what happens.
“But Isha won’t be reinstated, so the CAF match is definitely not happening. It’s unfortunate but it is what it is.”
Sierra Leone’s Anti-Corruption Commissioner boss, Francis Ben Kaifala also confirmed that they wont be reinstating Johansen.
“Corruption is the biggest emergency Sierra Leone faces right now, and these actions from FIFA are nothing less than a violation of our national sovereignty,” Kaifala said.
“They may have their rules but we also have our own and will not be bullied around. We will play the game in our hearts even if they bar us from playing with them.”
“Our position remains the same. There is no further comment,” Francis Ben Kaifala told the press .
Speaking to Starr Sports from Sierra Leone after the meeting on Tuesday , the FSL news reporter Prince Scott insists the game will not be honored.
“Ghana and Sierra Leone game will only take place if Isha Johansen and Christopher Camara are reinstated and have access to the FA facility which I see will not happen since the government is not ready to succumb to such demands from FIFA”
“So it’s a clear manifestation to show that we are not going to honor that fixture because as it stands neither the government or the Anti-Corruption Commissioner is ready to back down to FIFA’s stance” Scott told Starr Sports.
Sierra Leone have three points from their opening two Nations Cup qualifiers and are also due to host Ghana in Freetown on Monday, with that fixture also in doubt over the impasse.
Confederation of African Football (CAF) failed to state whether Ghana will be awarded the points for the two matches or Sierra Leone will be allowed to continue in the Nations Cup qualifying competition if and when they are reinstated by FIFA.