Covid deals another blow to Tunisia's AFCON bid

Covid deals another blow to Tunisia's AFCON bid as six players test positive
2 min read
Six members of the Tunisian national football team have tested positive for Covid-19, dealing another blow to the country's AFCON hopes after a bizarre loss to Mali
Six members of the Tunisian team have tested positive for Covid-19 [Getty]

The Tunisian Football Federation said on Friday that six members of the national team had tested positive for Covid-19, another blow to their Africa Cup of Nations hopes after a bizarre defeat to Mali.

"Tests taken this morning showed that Naim Sliti, Yoann Touzghar, Oussama Haddadi, Mohamed Drager, Dylan Bronn and Issam Jebali, have contracted coronavirus," it said in a statement.

The players were put into isolation and will miss the teams' next match, on Sunday against Mauritania.

The news comes two days after a controversial defeat to Mali in which the referee blew the final whistle twice before full-time.

Mali were leading 1-0 when official Janny Sikazwe signalled the end of the match after 85 minutes, then again at 89 minutes and 47 seconds -- even though three minutes of time added on had been scheduled.

The Tunisians, desperately searching for an equaliser against a side reduced to 10 men, were furious.

When the teams were informed that the match must resume, only Mali complied while Tunisia's players were already in ice baths, refusing to return to the pitch.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) late Thursday threw out a Tunisian appeal and confirmed Mali's win.

CAF's refereeing chief, Essam Abdel Fattah, defended Sikazwe in comments carried by Egyptian media, saying the Zambian official had been suffering from headstroke and dehydration.