Namibia/Guinea: Warriors Take On Weakened Guinea

COVID-19 has inadvertently aided the Brave Warriors’ Africa Cup of Nations finals qualification ambitions by weakening rivals Guinea.

The Syli Nationale will be without several of their key players, including Liverpool star Naby Keita, when they face the Warriors in their Afcon eliminator in Windhoek on Sunday, 28 March.

Liverpool exercised its right to prevent Keita from travelling to Namibia for Guinea’s final African Cup of Nations qualifier.

Similarly, none of Guinea’s sizeable France-based legion will be allowed to play in Namibia as Ligue 1 and 2 clubs blocked the selection foreign players for matches outside the European Union/European Economic zone during the March international period.

A large number of African countries have their top stars plying their trade in France and Wednesday’s memo comes as a disappointment ahead of the final qualifying fixtures for the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

Fifa recently confirmed that clubs will not have to release players for national team duty if it meant teams would be without them due to Covid-19 protocols. The UK government restrictions state that any player who represents their national side in countries that feature on the travel red list would have to quarantine for 10 days upon their return.

Were Keita to travel to Namibia, he would be ruled out for injury-ravaged Liverpool’s English Premier League clash against Arsenal on 4 April and the Uefa Champions League quarter-final first leg three days later. Keita is, however, still eligible to play in his national side’s home qualifier against already qualified Mali three days prior.

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