• October 2, 2023

Guinea-Morocco World Cup qualifier postponed after Conakry coup d’etat

3:02 p.m. ET

  • And whereEspecially for ESPN


      Ed Dove is a writer and scout who has a deep and ongoing passion for African sports, politics, and literature. Instagram: @ EddyDove22, Facebook: @EddyDoveAfrica

Members of the Guinean Armed Forces drive through the central Kaloum neighborhood in Conakry after sustained gunfire was heard. Photo by CELLOU BINANI / AFP via Getty Images

Moroccos national team was evacuated from the Guinean capital Conakry and the World Cup qualifier against Guinea was postponed because of a coup in the West African country.

The Moroccan camp boarded a plane after CAF released a statement confirming that the game would not take place.

Moroccan goalkeeper Anas Zniti, who is out with the team in Conakry, has confirmed to ESPN that the squad is doing well despite having witnessed the deteriorating security situation in the city with the midfielder Sofyan Amrabat Sharing footage of military forces on the streets in his Instagram story.

The Moroccan team has been instructed to stay at their residence for the time being and stay away from windows and doors.

“The current political and security situation in Guinea is rather volatile and is being closely monitored by FIFA and CAF.” the African Football Confederation said in a statement.

“In order to ensure the safety of all players and to protect all match officials, FIFA and CAF have decided to postpone the qualifying match for the 2022 FIFA World Cup between Guinea and Morocco, which will be announced on Monday 9th made available at a later date. “

Members of the Guinean police drive through the central Kaloum neighborhood in Conakry. Photo by CELLOU BINANI / AFP via Getty Images

Morocco trained in Guinea on Saturday just before the reported coup began, with gunshots being heard for hours in Conakry – near the presidential palace. according to the BBC.

Before the postponement was announced, Morocco coach Vahid Halilhodzic told French newspaper L’Equipe: “We are at the hotel, gunshots can be heard nearby all day. We are waiting for permission to go to the airport but we are stranded. ” now.

“A plane is waiting for us, but we are not allowed to take off. And to get to the airport it takes between 45 minutes and an hour. If you hear gunshots outside, safety is not 100% guaranteed.”

He added: “I’ve been told the game could take place in Morocco but I don’t know. Right now we’re stuck there, let’s see how it goes. We’ll wait. I hope we come back.” Morocco before the end of the day. “

While Guinea’s defense minister has declared the coup d’état unsuccessful, the fate of President Alpha Conde remains uncertain. ESPN has seen verified images from the Guinean capital showing bodies on the city streets.

A statement sent to ESPN by the National Front for the Defense of the Constitution – the coalition of parties opposed to the current presidency – confirmed the president’s arrest.

Kaloum district residents have been told to stay indoors while the military is still present on the streets and has taken control of the country’s land and air borders.

This prompted Air Senegal, which flew some of Guinea’s Europe-based players to Conakry, to cancel its scheduled flights from the Guinean capital on Sunday. The decision may have concerns about the ability of the Liverpool‘S Naby Keita – among other things – to return to Europe.

Morocco traveled to the country on a specially chartered jet.

The four Cameroonian match officials who are due to oversee the match on Monday are also still in the country. The African Football Association has yet to confirm how they will leave the country.

Achraf Hakimi from Paris St. Germain, Benfica‘S Adel Taarabt, Wolves defender Romain Saiss and Seville duo Yassine Bounou and Youssef en-Nesyri are some of the high profile players currently in the Moroccan camp.

Information from Reuters has been included in this report.

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