France-based players barred from honouring call-ups

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The Afcon 2021 qualifiers have been dealt a major blow as a French football governing body took a big decision on Wednesday night.

The Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) have confirmed that French clubs have voted unanimously to not allow Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 players to travel for international games played outside the European Union.

This decision is a major blow for Africa with a chunk of African players plying their trade in France. West African countries will be the most affected with most of their stars playing in France.

Former Mamelodi Sundowns winger Keagan Dolly is the only South African player that will be affected by this decision. He was included in coach Molefi Ntseki’s latest squad for the two qualifies later this month.

Caf will have to take a big decision about the way forward after this announcement. There is a big possibility that the continental governing body can postpone the March qualifiers for a later date to allow the Covid19 situation to get better. Already the schedule of the qualifiers has been affected by the pandemic with the tournament forced to move from 2021 to 2022.

Bafana Bafana is scheduled to take on the Black Stars of Ghana on the 25th of March before traveling to Sudan for an away clash three days later. Ghana lead Group C with nine points followed by South Africa with the same number of points.

Sudan is in third spot with six points while Sao Tome ePrincipe is last on the group with no point from the four games.

South Africa lost 2-0 away to Ghana in the first game of the qualifiers before winning 1-0 at home against Sudan in November 2019. Last year, Ntseki’s charges took six crucial points after completing a double against Sao Tome.

Only the top two countries in each group will qualify for the continental showpiece scheduled to be played in Cameroon next year.

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By Prince Sobayeni 

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