Mauritius will take the place of Sao Tome e Principe in the qualifiers for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations after having their appeal over the eligibility of veteran Luis Leal upheld by the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
Leal scored in the first leg of their preliminary round contest as Sao Tome won 1-0 on their way to taking the tie 4-3 on aggregate following a 3-3 draw in the second game. Both matches were played in Mauritius.
But Leal had not provided a valid COVID-19 PCR test prior to the first game and so according to CAF regulations, was not eligible.
CAF therefore awarded the game with a 3-0 scoreline to Mauritius, who claim a 6-3 aggregate win.
“Experienced striker Leal Dos Anjos did not respect the anti-COVID protocol in the first leg, won 1-0 by (Sao Tome e Principe),” CAF said in a statement to French radio station RFI.
“As a result, they are ejected from Group A that includes Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Guinea-Bissau. In June, it is therefore the Mauritians who will play against the Guinea-Bissau and Nigeria.”
Mauritius will hope for a first Cup of Nations finals appearance since they featured at the 1974 competition in Egypt.