By John Mendy
The Gambia CHAN team will no longer wait till August to face either Mauritania/Liberia as FIFA lifts the ban on Mali following Government interference.
The scorpions CHAN team was given a bye into the second qualifier where they were due to face the winner between Mauritania and Liberia, for a place into the tournament proper. That is now over after the Confederation of African Football (Caf) confirmed that the suspension of Mali’s Football Association (FEMAFOOT) has been lifted by the sport’s world body Fifa.
Mali was originally banned from global football in March after the country’s Sports Minister Housseïni Amion Guindo had dissolved the executive committee of FEMAFOOT.
Fifa, who do not look kindly on government interference, had said the ban would only be lifted when the FEMAFOOT board was reinstated.
On Saturday, Caf announced that a letter dated 28 April 2017 and signed by Fifa Secretary General Fatma Samoura had confirmed the reinstatement of FEMAFOOT’s executive committee, thereby allowing Mali back into the international fold.
Caf say Mali are now clear to participate in the upcoming competitions, one of which will be the qualifiers of the Total African Nations Championship (CHAN) Kenya 2018.
The Gambian team to be led by award winning Coach of the year by the Sports Journalists’ Association of The Gambia Alagie Sarr of Ports Authority FC and will play host to Mali for the first leg in mid July and a week later in Bamako for the second leg.
The 2018 Kenya championship is exclusively for players playing within the confines of their respective domestic leagues.