CAN 2022: “It’s funny” … how the Comoros are preparing to face Cameroon without a goalkeeper

In the hotel room in Yaoundé (Cameroon) shared by Ahmed Mogni and Faïz Selemani, we hear laughter. The atmosphere is relaxed, this room. “Why would we be pissed off? asks Mogni, author of a double last Tuesday against Ghana (3-2). Our joy at being qualified is immense. It’s normal to be in a good mood. We are proud for our people, our families, we are still in euphoria. With us, there are players who play in the Champions League and others who are amateurs in N 2 or N 3. But we make no difference. We are united. The latest events do not disturb us at all. »

For its first CAN, the Comoros, a small archipelago populated by just over 1 million inhabitants, created a great sensation with this qualification for the round of 16 against Cameroon. But on Saturday, before flying from Garoua, in northern Cameroon, to reach Yaoundé, the PCR tests carried out revealed 12 positive cases, including Amir Abdou, the coach, and seven players.

Among them, two goalkeepers, Moyadh Ousseini and Ali Ahamada. The third goalkeeper, Salim Ben Boina, who plays as an amateur at Endoume Marseille (N 3, 5th division), hero of the match against Morocco, injured his arm on Tuesday against Ghana following a shock. with Andre Ayew. The Comoros will therefore be deprived of part of their staff and certainly their goalkeepers to face Cameroon. An unprecedented situation. But that does not seem to disturb the group.

After a slight sludge on Saturday upon their arrival in Yaoundé, the players trained this Sunday and tried… several outfield players in goal. “We decided to bring together all the able-bodied players and put the situation in perspective. The first thing is that it had to come from them, we had potential goalkeepers. We laugh, we prefer to take it like that, it’s funny… The goalkeeper, we haven’t determined it yet. Between fun at the end of the session and an official match, there is a big difference, ”explained Jean-Daniel Padovani, the Comoros goalkeeper coach, who experienced the L 2 in France.

“Me or another, we are ready to make sacrifices for the nation”

It is therefore very likely that it is an outfield player who stands in the way of the Cameroonian attackers this Monday for a match which would then look like a fight of David against Goliath. The only (little) hope that new PCR tests (postponed from Sunday to Monday) will be negative this time, or that Ben Boina can finally hold his place. But that doesn’t seem to be the trend.

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“You can’t invent yourself as a goalkeeper for an 8th final of CAN, recognizes the captain, Nadjim Abdou, who plays in Martigues (N 2). Me, I am a player. But whether it’s me or someone else, we’re ready to make sacrifices for the nation. If we have to do it, we will. It’s hard to leave brothers behind. But we are a group, we support each other. It’s a chance to be there. Nobody would have imagined that the Comoros find themselves in 8th. We certainly live in a funny situation but despite everything, we tried to prepare well. »

All sick… except Cameroon!

The Covid has already affected this CAN by affecting almost all the selections. Except… Cameroon, the organizing country, which has not yet deplored any positive cases. Before its opening match, Burkina Faso had already been moved by this situation which raises certain questions. On social networks and in some African countries, the controversy is starting to swell.

Asked by L’Équipe, the Comorian coach, Amir Abdou, who is preparing for this match confined to his hotel room but says he does not “feel any symptoms, like his players”, did nothing to put it out. “Honestly, do Cameroon need this against us? What’s funny is that while doing the tests, they also took pictures, and with a little smile, this smile that says to you: Something is happening. I have already experienced it. The PCR can become an additional weapon for a country or a club. »

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