Ivory Coast was one of nine teams to qualify for this January’s Africa Cup of Nations thanks to new Aston Villa man’s Jonathan Kodjia acrobatic goal.
The 26-year-old striker reacted quickly to send an overhead kick home and give the Elephants a 1-0 lead over Sierra Leone, though New England Revolution man Kei Kamara answered to make the night a bit more nervy for the hosts.
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You can watch both goals below, and there’s another day of qualifying on tap for Sunday.
Also qualifying Saturday were Cameroon, Zimbabwe, Senegal, Algeria, Ghana, Egypt, Morocco, and Guinea-Bissau. Notable eliminations include Nigeria, Guinea, South Africa, Cape Verde, and Sierra Leone.
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) have moved to switch African Cup qualifiers from two nations impacted by the Ebola virus.
Both Guinea and Sierra Leone were set to host games next month but in a statement released on Wednesday from secretary general Hicham El Amran, the CAF said both games will be moved to other countries.
Hoping that the situation will be resolved following these games the CAF will then “reassess the situation” in mid-September as Guinea are scheduled to host Ghana and Uganda this fall. As for Sierra Leone, they have asked to play all three of their home games in neighboring Ghana.
Over 1,000 people have now lost their lives since the Ebola outbreak began in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, while the virus has also spread to Nigeria.
CAF stated that all other qualifiers will go ahead and all members of the Guinean and Sierra Leone squads visiting other countries will be examined “in order to ensure that no member can transmit Ebola.” The host nations will also face additional checks in order to control the spread of the virus.
The final qualifying round of the African Cup of Nations will begin in September and run until mid-November. It will decide the 15 countries who will join hosts Morocco in the showpiece tournament next year.
As the deadly Ebola virus continues to spread across West Africa, the Sierra Leone national team have been banned from traveling abroad for an international friendly.
The squad were due to travel to the Seychelles for an African Nations Cup qualifier but were banned from boarding a flight to the island nation from Nairobi, Kenya, as the unprecedented outbreak of Ebola has sparked health fears across the world.
As a result of the Seychelles immigration authorities deciding to not allow the Sierra Leone party to travel to the Indian Ocean island because of Ebola, the nation have forfeited the match and are no longer able to qualify for the African Cup of Nations next summer.
Over the past few weeks over 700 people have died from the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria.
Former Houston Dynamo and Sporting Kansas City striker Kei Kamara, who now plays for Middlesbrough in England’s Championship, has arrived in the Seychelles to play for his nation but is without the rest of his squad. It is believed Kamara traveled directly from England for the match.
NBC News have issued the following update, below, as travel to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea is deemed to be extremely dangerous at this point.
There was neither begging of nor pleading with the referee after Alhaji Kamara was shown his second yellow card of Sunday’s 2-2 draw between Swedish clubs Norkopping and Orebro.
Nope. Instead, the 20-year-old Norkopping striker from Sierra Leone just sprints off the field and down the tunnel., shrieking at the top of his lungs.
Do I really need to add much more? I could watch this all day.
For whatever FIFA’s World Rankings are worth outside of the actual World Cup draw, the United States is one of several Top 15 teams moving upward in the last rankings before the beginning of this year’s tournament in Brazil.
The Yanks have climbed back into No. 13 on the list one month after dropping to 14. Wins over Turkey (mostly) and Azerbaijan (a little) propelled the States past Chile, which beat Egypt 3-2 in its only match of the month.
England has ascended into the Top 10, while tournament hosts Brazil have reached No. 3 (behind Germany and Spain).
Around CONCACAF, Mexico drops one place to No. 20, while Costa Rica has taken a leap of six spots up to No. 28. Panama is up four places to 31, while Honduras drops to 33. Aruba is the biggest CONCACAF mover, up 35 spots to 120, while Montserrat has gained 22 spots to No. 166.
Sierra Leone is perhaps the biggest mover, jumping up 17 spots to No. 54. Senegal’s drop to No. 74 is an 11-place fall. New Zealand is up 14 spots and back into the Top 100, but that’s nothing compared to Palestine; The Middle Eastern club is up 71 spots to No. 94.
Other big movers around the globe:
– Scotland is down five spots to No. 27
– Sweden has dropped seven to No. 32, while Egypt is down 12 to No. 36.
– Wales is up six spots to No. 41.