Rwanda forfeit AFCON qualifier after fielding suspended player

May 17 – The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has ruled that Rwanda’s national team must forfeit their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Benin due to fielding an ineligible player. The points deduction is a significant setback for the Amavubi’s hopes of reaching the continental finals.

Rwanda fielded Kevin Muhire (pictured) in the match, despite him being ineligible to play due to accumulating two yellow cards against Senegal and Benin in the first leg. In accordance with Article 105 of the CAF Disciplinary Code, CAF validated Benin’s appeal and awarded them the three points for the match.

As per Article 42.1 of the Regulations of the Africa Cup of Nations, if a player receives two cautions during the qualifying phase and the final tournament, they are automatically suspended from playing the following match.

In Group L, Rwanda is competing with Mozambique and Benin for a spot in the finals, while Senegal has already qualified with 12 points and two matches remaining. Following the forfeit, Rwanda find themselves at the bottom of the group. They have two remaining fixtures against Mozambique and Senegal.

Last month, Olivier Mugabo Nizeyimana, the president of the Rwandan Football Federation (FERWAFA), resigned from his position citing personal reasons. However, it is widely believed that his departure was a result of the blunder against Benin.

Rwanda’s only participation in the Nations Cup occurred in 2004, where they finished third in a group that included hosts Tunisia, Guinea, and DR Congo.

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