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Outfield players could be forced to play in goal if teams are hit by a Covid outbreak at AFCON

Outfield players could be forced to play in goal if teams are hit by a Covid outbreak at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations after tournament organisers issue new guidelines following a spate of positive tests

  • Teams will be required to play a match if they have a minimum of 11 players
  •  In the absence of a goalkeeper, an outfield player must replace the goalkeeper
  • If a team does not have 11 players, the opposition will be awarded a 2-0 win


Outfield players could be forced to play in goal if a country is hit by a Covid outbreak at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.

AFCON organisers have released guidance stating that participating nations will be required to play a match if they have a minimum of 11 players who have tested negative, while in the absence of a goalkeeper, an outfield player must go in goal.

Several players have tested positive for Covid since arriving for the competition, including Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy and Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly.

Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy will miss Senegal’s Africa Cup of Nations opener with Covid

Senegal could be without nine players for their opening game against Zimbabwe on Monday after testing positive.

Countries will be required to play a match if they have a minimum of 11 players who have tested negative, while in the absence of a goalkeeper, an outfield player from the team must replace the goalkeeper.

Any country that does not have a minimum of 11 players available will be considered to have lost the match 0-2.

Senegal boss Aliou Cisse is without a host of players and described the situation as 'difficult'

Senegal boss Aliou Cisse is without a host of players and described the situation as ‘difficult’

A CAF statement read: ‘Each team will be permitted to use a maximum of five substitutes.

‘To reduce disruption to the match, each team will have a maximum of three opportunities to make substitutions during the game; substitutions may also be made at half-time.’

‘If the result of the COVID-19 PCR test of any player is positive, such player will not be authorized to go to the stadium or participate in the applicable match.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has tested positive for Covid upon his arrival in Cameroon

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has tested positive for Covid upon his arrival in Cameroon

‘A team will be required to play a match if they have a minimum of 11 players available who have tested negative. In the event of the absence of a goalkeeper, another player from the team must replace the goalkeeper, provided the total number of available players is at least eleven.

‘A team that does not have a minimum of 11 players available will be considered to have lost the match 0-2.’

The tournament, featuring 52 fixtures, begins in Cameroon on Sunday when the host nation face Burkina Faso.

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk