December 31, 2021
By Mark Gleeson
CAPE TOWN (Reuters) – Four Cameroon players have tested positive for COVID-19, with the Africa Cup of Nations hosts set to kick off the tournament against Burkina Faso in just over a week’s time, the country’s football federation said on Friday.
Other teams preparing for the finals, which start on Jan. 9, also reported positive cases, with seven more in the Cape Verde Island squad and one for Morocco.
This adds to positive infections reported on Thursday by Algeria and the Ivory Coast, who have also been hard hit by a possible drug suspension for their first choice goalkeeper.
Sylvain Gbohouo, who plays in Ethiopia at Wolkite City, has been provisionally suspended by FIFA after testing positive for trimetazidine, a heart medication that the World Anti-Doping Agency categorises as a stimulant.
The announcement was made by the Ethiopian Football Federation but not confirmed by the Ivorians.
Meanwhile, Cameroon’s Eric Maxim Choupo Moting has been injured in training and is waiting to see if he can play.
The Bayern Munich player, expected to lead the attack for the hosts, suffered “a severe pain in his right knee” and underwent a scan, according to the Cameroon football federation.
It is awaiting the results, fearful that the 32-year-old striker might miss out.
Cameroon also said leading defender Michael Ngadeu Ngadjui, midfielder Pierre Kunde Malong, winger Christian Bassogog and back-up goalkeeper Jean Efala had all tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
Cape Verde, who have been preparing for the Cup of Nations at home, had already called off a friendly match against Morocco before reporting new cases in their camp on Friday.
A statement said the infected players had been isolated but were showing no symptoms, and that just 15 players were able to train on Friday.
Morocco defender Badr Benoun, a late addition to their squad, has had to postpone plans to join team mates training in the United Arab Emirates after returning a positive test.
On Thursday, the Ivory Coast said players arriving from Europe at their training camp in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, had tested positive and been put in quarantine by local authorities.
Algeria earlier this week said forwards Youcef Belaili and defenders Mohamed Amine Tougai and Houcine Benyada had tested positive at their training camp in Qatar.
(Reporting by Mark Gleeeson; Editing by Ken Ferris)