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Cups | Fairy tale becomes drama: Comoros without a goalkeeper in the game of life

A fairy tale becomes a drama: The Comoros are in the round of 16 of the Africa Cup for the first time, then Corona strikes. Without a goalkeeper and numerous top performers, they should now play against Cameroon.

When the Comoros play, “the country pauses,” said coach Amir Abdou recently. Then there is no other topic among the 850,000 inhabitants on the islands of the small archipelago, it was the same in the three group games during the Africa Cup. But on Monday, when the “Coelacanths” play against hosts Cameroon (8:00 p.m.) in the round of 16, the Comoros will get even closer together.

Because: Before the game of their lives, they are shaken by a massive corona outbreak. Twelve players and staff have tested positive, including coach Abdou and the only two goalkeepers left in the squad: Moyadh Ousseini and Ali Ahamada. Regular keeper Salim Ben Boina was injured in the 3-2 draw against Ghana.

The football fairy tale becomes a drama

“We are trying everything in our power to find solutions,” said team manager El-Hadad Himidi in a video posted by the association on Twitter: “But without our coach, without some key players and especially without our two remaining goalkeepers, the situation is very difficult complicated.” The football fairy tale becomes a drama.

“We want to make our people happy,” said captain Nadjim Abdou before the Africa Cup of Nations. The participation alone was for the world number 132. already a sensation, then the outsiders move into the round of 16 – and now this.

The rules of the African governing body CAF stipulate that a team must play if at least eleven players have a negative corona test. If a goaltender is not available, an outfield player must step in.

Comoros hope for miracles

The Comoros are now hoping for a small miracle, they are familiar with that in football. The island state only joined the world association FIFA in 2005. Coach Abdou, like many of his players who was born in Europe, has formed a unit on the pitch. The Comoros don’t play spectacular football, but they are well organized and have a clear plan.

The team “proves that the power lies in unity,” said Abdou: “It is made up of players from all four islands. All the colors of our flag are represented in it. That brings us together.” Either way, the Comoros will pause against Cameroon.

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