By Mohamed Fajah Barrie
BBC Sport Africa, Sierra Leone
The Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) is seeking approval to finalise the details to host the postponed Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Benin.
The SLFA has opted not to go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to appeal against the Confederation of African Football’s (Caf) decision not to award a win to the Leone Stars.
Instead the the SLFA has submitted some proposed dates for the crucial qualifier and will be submitting an inspection of the Siaka Steven stadium in Freetown to Caf in order to host the match.
The Group L tie was supposed to have taken place in Freetown in March but was called off when Benin refused to play as they disputed five of its players returning positive Covid-19 tests that would have ruled them out of the crucial match.
Caf has demanded the inspection of the stadium that in March it deemed not up to standard to host international matches before later making a temporary u-turn on that decision.
“The said inspection will be spearheaded by SLFA’s Club Licensing Manager- Mr. Sorie Ibrahim Sesay who is expected to send a field inspection report, including photos and video evidences, to Caf not later than Thursday 13th May, 2021,” an SLFA statement said.
“Caf, upon receiving the report, will take a decision on the approval of the Stadium and location of Sierra Leone’s next Africa Cup of Nations 2021 qualifier match.
“Meanwhile, in response to Caf’s request, the Sierra Leone Football Association has proposed to play its pending Africa Cup of Nations Qualifier match (Sierra Leone vs. Benin) between the 12th, 13th and 14th June 2021 at the Siaka Steven Stadium in Freetown.
“The proposed dates and venue are however subject to Caf’s approval.”
The match will decide the final place at next year’s delayed Nations Cup finals and Benin know a draw will be enough for them to see them through to the tournament in Cameroon.
For Sierra Leone to qualify a 1-0 win would see them through instead of Benin, however they will need a two-goal margin of victory if they concede a goal.
A qualification for Sierra Leone will end a 25-year wait of qualifying for Africa’s number one football showpiece tournament for the west African country.