By John Essien
Sao Tome and Principe have been cleared to face the Super Eagles of Nigeria in the group stage of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers after Mauritius were thrown out.
This follows the latest ruling by the CAF Appeals Committee which dismissed the earlier verdict passed by its Disciplinary Committee last month.
Sao Tome and Principe were initially expunged from the qualifiers after Mauritius won a case suggesting that the tiny island nation had fielded an ineligible player during their preliminary round tie against Les Dodos.
Meanwhile, CAF’s Appeals Board on Wednesday overturned its earlier decision as Sao Tome will now join the Super Eagles in Group A of the Afcon qualifiers alongside Guinea-Bissau, and Sierra Leone.
“Sao Tome and Principe Football Association took the decision of the Caf Disciplinary Board [May 08, 2022] to overturn the results of their match against Mauritius in the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations preliminary qualifiers played on March 24, 2022 on review with the Caf Appeals Board,” read part of the statement on CafOnline.
“After hearing both parties’ presentations, the Caf Appeals Board ruled that: The Appeal of Sao Tome and Principe Football Association is considered admissible in form.
“The Appeal of the Sao Tome and Principe Football Association is upheld and the decision of the Caf Disciplinary Board is set aside in its entirety.”
The statement continued: “The result of the match between Mauritius and Sao Tome and Principe is ratified and validated and it means the Sao Tome and Principe Football Association shall be reimbursed the Appeal fees.”
Mauritius were already lined-up to start their campaign with an away game against Guinea-Bissau at Stade Adrar on June 6.
Their second fixture was to see them host the Super Eagles at National Sports Complex Pitch 1 on June 13.
The Super Eagles are currently in the USA preparing for their friendly against Ecuador at Red Bull Arena on June 3.
The three-time champions will begin their campaign with a home game against Sierra Leone at Abuja National Stadium on June 9.
Last Sunday, Nigeria, under the tutelage of new Portuguese coach Jose Peseiro, suffered a 2-1 friendly defeat against Mexico at AT&T Stadium.