Black Stars coach Charles Akonnor has questioned FIFA’s handling of the Covid-19 issue that has seen several key players withdraw from the Black Stars squad for the game against South Africa.
Akonnor will be without seven players – all featured in the 1-0 win against Ethiopia on Friday – for Monday’s FIFA World Cup qualifier because they play their football in countries that unfortunately have marked South Africa as a Covid-19 danger zone.
England-based players Jordan Ayew, Daniel Amartey, Jeffrey Schlupp, Andy Yiadom and Baba Rahman did not make the trip. Under the current rules, players would miss several games for their clubs because of the 10-day isolation period that is required on their return to the UK from red list countries.
Similar rules in France and Germany forced Rennes and St Pauli to recall Kamaldeen Sulemana and Daniel Kofi Kyereh respectively.
“The whole issue has been a problem. Not just me but for any other coach,” Akonnor bemoaned at Sunday’s post-match press conference.
“You have a plan, you know what you’re doing, but then you realise a player has Covid or issues. I don’t know if FIFA or CAF are handling this very well.
“One may ask if we cannot bring our players here can’t we play somewhere else? There are so many questions to answer and it’s not making us comfortable.”
He added: We are aware of the situation, we are well prepared. We knew that English players will not come here with us because of the Covid situation. We knew exactly what was going to happen so it’s not going to be a complaint.”
English clubs were the first to bar their players from travelling to red list countries for qualifiers.
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) wrote to the UK government urging them to exempt African players from its travel restrictions to allow them to travel for qualifiers.
Their letter followed one from world football’s governing body Fifa to the UK government asking much the same thing.
Both letters were not addressed.