Displaying items by tag: Omicron variant
The wait is finally over for Cameroon, which hosts the Africa Cup of Nations three years later than initially planned as its own Indomitable Lions seems to be ready to face Burkina Faso in their first AFCON 2021 match.
"If we give it our all and do what is necessary, I think we will win the game. No game is easy against African teams. All African teams have reached a certain level. We have to give our best, be united and be really, really ambitious to be able to win the matches," said Cameroon captain Vincent Aboubakar.
Meanwhile, Burkina Faso captain Bertrand Traore has deplored as "a scandal" coronavirus testing procedures at the Africa Cup of Nations after up to five players and coach Kamou Malo tested positive in the run-up to Sunday's opener against hosts Cameroon.
The Aston Villa forward told a press conference in Yaounde on Saturday: "It's a scandal, we cannot be deprived of first team players 24 hours before the match."
Assistant coach Firmin Sanou, standing in for Malo, said: "We have four or five Covid cases, mainly first team players, we're not going to name names."
"It calls everything into question, but we have confidence in the players who will replace them," continued Sanou, who hit out at the organization with two different medical teams arriving to test the team.
"Yesterday morning (Friday) a medical team showed up at our hotel for tests, when we tried to understand who had sent them, the CAF (African Football Confederation) clearly told us that they hadn't sent them so we refused to do the tests," said Sanou.
"Another team arrived at 10 p.m., apparently the CAF team, we carried out the tests which informed us of 4 to 5 cases of Covid.
"I say 4 or 5 because they say that our first player tested did not carry out the test ... " he continued.
The Burkinabè delegation are disputing the fact that the tests were not PCR tests, which must be carried out 48 hours before the match, and have requested a second opinion.
Traore said: "The authorities must review the organisation. We cannot accept this decision. We can redo tests of our positive players."
AFCON 2021 begins on Sunday January 9 when hosts Cameron face Burkina Faso in Group A at 4pm; Abati Media will report all 52 games throughout the competition; tournament concludes with the final on Sunday February 6
Africa Cup of Nations organisers have confirmed teams will have to play matches provided they have 11 players available, should they be depleted by Covid-19 cases.
Cameroon's match against Burkina Faso on Sunday, will start the tournament, which features 52 fixtures, and the rules have been clarified about how teams will cope with absentees due to Covid-19.
Countries will be forced to play a match if they have a minimum of 11 players who have tested negative, with an outfield player from the squad filling in for the goalkeeper if the goalkeeper is unavailable.
Any country that does not have a minimum of 11 players will be regarded to have lost the match by a score of 0-2.
The organizers have said that each team will be allowed to deploy a maximum of five players, with a total of three substitution opportunities during the game.
Teams will be permitted one additional substitution and will have one further substitution chance if extra time is used.
When the competition was moved to Egypt in 2019, Algeria won the title with a 1-0 final victory over Senegal.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has confirmed two cases of the Omicron variant of coronavirus in Nigeria.
The variant was discovered in two passengers, who arrived the country from South Africa.
LEADERSHIP reports that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has classified Omicron as a variant of concern.
Director-General, NCDC, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, who disclosed this in a statement, said the two cases of the variant were discovered through genomic sequencing, adding that the two patients were asymptomatic and contact tracing had begun.
Adetifa said, “In line with the routine travel tests required of all international travellers and genomic sequencing at the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control through its National Reference Laboratory, Abuja, confirms Nigeria’s first case of the Omicron variant.
“Genomic sequencing of positive cases from routine day two testing for travellers to Nigeria identified two cases of Omicron variant among travellers from South Africa who arrived in Nigeria last week. Retrospective sequencing of previously confirmed cases among travelers to Nigeria also identified the omicron variant among samples collected in October 2021.”