A few days before the start of the African Cup of Nations in Egypt, the threat hangs over the Malian Eagles: Fifa, tired of the crisis that undermines the Malian Football Federation, could crack down and deprive the national team of the big meeting. you continental. Such a decision would have the effect of an earthquake in this CAN to 24 teams.
The last time Mali missed an African Cup of Nations was in 2006. The next is maybe for 2019. In any case, the pressure is on the Malian Football Federation (Femafoot) . And the question arises: this CAN in Egypt, which starts on July 21 and ends on July 19, will it really count 24 selections? Mali, although brilliantly qualified on the field (1st of group C with 14 points, no defeat), is under threat of suspension.
► READ : CAN 2019 : Calendar, results and standings of the Africa Cup
Mali suspended if the general meeting of the Femafoot is sabotaged on June 15
Since March 2017, the Femafoot is suspended by Fifa because of interference of power in its affairs. In December of the same year, the latter decided to place the Federation under the tutelage of a standardization committee (Conor), with two objectives in mind: to draft new statutes within the Federation, and to reorganize current affairs. Two missions that have not yet succeeded. The Malian league, for example, is still at a standstill since November 2017, although the negotiations are moving forward for its resumption.
Véron Mosenga-Omba, director of member associations of Africa and the Caribbean at Fifa, was in Bamako Saturday, June 8. In particular, he met with Malian Prime Minister Boubou Cissé, and on behalf of Fifa and his President Gianni Infantino common message to facilitate the end of crisis in which is found the football malin for too long According to his words shared on Twitter. But the threat of a suspension for all FIFA competitions, including the next CAN, really hovers.
" Gianni Infantino is clear: Fifa has been and remains alongside Malian football which has incredible potential, but it runs the risk of a suspension at the level of FIFA (…) if the general meeting of June 15 is sabotaged ", Announces Véron Mosenga-Omba in a tweet, before adding that Infantino" will not allow two or five people to take Malian football hostage ". Words confirmed by Footmali and other media.
Angola, Mauritania and Tunisia, the only nations in Group E ?
The date of June 15 is therefore awaited with as much impatience as anxiety. The players of Mohamed Magassouba prepare their CAN without having the certainty to be. And precisely, what will happen if Fifa sanctions the Femafoot prevents the Eagles to participate in the imminent competition?
The African Football Confederation's CAN regulation, adopted in January 2017 (before the format was changed from 16 to 24 nations), is formal. In Chapter 27 " Package, withdrawal, refusal to play, replacement Article 68 states: " For group matches, if a team withdraws before the start of the competition, the group will be composed of the number of remaining teams, unless decided otherwise by the Organizing Committee. "
If this rule is applied, then there will not be 24 but 23 nations in this CAN in Egypt, and Group E will not have four teams but three: Angola, Mauritania and Tunisia. The two nations that finish in 1st and 2nd place will qualify for the round of 16.
We could perhaps even end up with an ugly situation where the three teams of group E would be qualified for the knockout stages, because in this CAN 2019, the four best 3rd in the group stage will qualify for the round of 16. But it would be difficult to achieve this because, in Group E, Mali's fault, each team will play only two matches instead of three matches for each team of groups A, B, C, D and F (which will therefore have more chances to score points).
A repechage for Gabon or Burkina Faso ?
The CAF rules nevertheless insist on one point: Article 68 applies " unless otherwise decided by the Organizing Committee ". And if the latter, faced with the disqualification of Mali, decided on a repechage: which nation would benefit?
In the qualifiers for CAN 2019, Mali finished first in group C (14 points) ahead of Burundi (10 points). Gabon (8 points) and South Sudan (0 points) remained at the dock. Mali disqualified, the Gabon Panthers could recover his place.
Unless the CAF decides to grant the vacant place to the best playoff 3rd. At this little game, the lucky winner would be Burkina Faso. The Stallions, with their 10 points, were beaten by Angola and Mauritania (12 points) and did not qualify. Their place of better 3rd could finally be enough for them.
But for the moment, these different scenarios favoring a group E to three (Angola, Mauritania, Tunisia), a repechage of Gabon or a repechage of Burkina Faso are only fictional. Everything will depend on the holding of the general assembly of the Malian Football Federation on June 15 and the verdict of Fifa. Knowing that then, we will know six days from the opening of the CAN …