January 31 – Mauritius has followed the lead of South Africa by becoming the second country to pull out of the ongoing Futsal Africa Cup of Nations being staged in Laayoune in the disputed region of Western Sahara.
The Mauritians played their opener in the competition on Tuesday and lost 4-2 to Equatorial Guinea‚ but have now been ordered home by the country’s Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth mid-tournament.
Following the decision, all further matches involving Mauritius have been wiped out leaving Group A with three teams – namely host Morocco, Equatorial Guinea and Libya.
To complicate the situation, the Confederation of African Football is reportedly refusing to pay the Mauritians’ hotel bill or travel costs. The Mauritius Football Association, by contrast, say they do not have the funds to settle the bill and have apparently reached out to the South African Football Association for assistance.
Ironically, Mauritius were only at the continental finals in the first place after South Africa pulled out in protest at the tournament being staged in Western Sahara, a disputed territory occupied by the tournament hosts. No member of the United Nations recognises Morocco as the rightful owner of Western Sahara‚
The debacle represents yet another blow to the image of CAF president Ahmad who presumably backed Morocco’s choice of hosting the event in the disputed region. It also throws the question the role of FIFA general secretary Fatma Samoura in her efforts to improve the management and reputation of CAF as part of her General Delegate for Africa remit.
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