Comoros Football Federation Fined for Goalkeeper Kit Debacle

Adding insult to injury, the Confédération Africaine de Football (CAF) has levied fines against the Fédération de Football Comores (FFC) for a debacle that saw a defender play in net with a number taped on the back of his jersey during an African Cup of Nations round of 16 match.

On Monday, five-foot-seven defender Chaker Alhadhur started in goal for Comoros against host nation Cameroon after all three of the nation’s goalkeepers tested positive for COVID-19. He wore a goalkeeper kit with his name on the back along with his usual number 3 taped over the number 16.

CAF slapped Comoros on the wrist for the jersey mixup Wednesday, levying a fine of $5,000 US for “failure to respect the jersey numbers already registered on the CMS system by the player” and another $2,000 US for “the delay of the match caused by their players.”

The CAF said that the kickoff delay was due to Alhadhur wearing “a shirt with a number that is not his when leaving the locker room.”

Alhadhur spoke to the FFC website on Wednesday and explained how everything unfolded at Olembe Stadium in Yaoundé, Cameroon, on Monday. He said, when that he arrived at the stadium, his usual number 3 outfield jersey was laid out for him, and the whole team thought goalkeeper Ali Ahamada would start in goal as he had tested negative for COVID-19 that morning. But CAF rules state that a player must have a negative PCR test 48 hours before his team’s next match in order to play.

“We really thought until the end that Ali was going to play and that CAF was going to do what was necessary,” Alhadhur said (translated into English by Google).

When Ahamada was ruled ineligible, out came the goalkeeper shirt with Alhadhur’s name on it and the number 16, which had been assigned to another goalie, Moyadh Ousseni.

In the hallway just prior to kickoff, Alhadhur said: “An official sees me with the number 16, he tells me that it was not possible, I must have the 3. Suddenly, obliged to put blue tape, it is there that appeared this mythical jersey.”

Photo courtesy Footy Headlines

Alhadhur made four saves in the match, but Comoros lost 2-1, ending their tournament run.

In addition to the penalties related to Alhadhur’s jersey, the FFC was also fined $10,000 US for “non-compliance with the COVID-19 Protocol required by CAF,” and Comoros goalkeeping coach Jean-Daniel Padovani was suspended for three matches for “disrespectful behavior” toward officials.

Unfortunately, the Cameroon-Comoros match was marred by a stampede outside Olembe Stadium prior to the game that killed eight people and injured dozens more. Fans — some with tickets and some without — were trying to get into the stadium through a single open gate.

No further games will be played at Olembe Stadium until a full investigation is conducted.

Feature photo courtesy TVP.pl