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CAF reinstates Sao Tome in AFCON qualifiers

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has reinstated Sao Tome and Principe in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers following an appeal against Mauritius.

This was announced in a statement on the federation’s website on Wednesday.

The Falcons and True Parrots Team will now join Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Guinea-Bissau in Group A of the Cote d’Ivoire 2023 AFCON qualifiers.

Sao Tome had won the preliminary tie 4-3 on aggregate over Mauritius, but the losing side took the case before CAF.

Mauritius complained that Sao Tome’s Luis Leal had not followed the CAF’s COVID-19 protocol.

They added that the Bolivia-based striker, who scored the only goal in the first leg of the tie, was not eligible to play against them because his PCR test dated more than 72 hours before the match, infringing on CAF protocol that tests must be from 48 hours.

During an initial ruling last month, CAF disciplinary board upheld Mauritius’ appeal, awarding the country a work-over for the first game of the encounter.

However, in the latest decision, the CAF appeal board said, “the result of the match between Mauritius and São Tomé and Príncipe is ratified and validated.”

It added that “the appeal of the São Tomé and Príncipe Football Association is upheld, and the decision of the CAF Disciplinary Board is set aside in its entirety.”

“São Tomé and Príncipe Football Association took the decision of the CAF Disciplinary Board (May 8 2022) to overturn the results of their match against Mauritius in the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations preliminary qualifiers played on March 24 2022, on review with the CAF Appeals Board,” read the statement.

“After hearing both parties’ presentations, the CAF Appeals Board ruled that: The Appeal of São Tomé and Príncipe Football Association is considered admissible in form. The Appeal of the São Tomé and Príncipe Football Association is upheld, and the decision of the CAF Disciplinary Board is set aside in its entirety.

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