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Africa Cup of Nations

Mendy in doubt for Senegal opener after Covid positive

Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy could miss Senegal’s opening game of the Africa Cup of Nations against Zimbabwe after he was among a new group of players to test positive for Covid-19.

Mendy, captain Kalidou Koulibaly and forward Famara Diedhiou returned positive results Saturday during required tests 48 hours ahead of their tournament opener, the Senegalese Football Federation said.

The trio will be unavailable for Senegal’s first game in Bafoussam unless further tests come back negative.

Senegal, Africa’s top-ranked team, delayed their departure for the tournament from Tuesday to Wednesday this week after three players and six staff members returned positive tests.

The squad left without the three players who were placed in quarantine.

Mendy flew out on a chartered jet to Dakar from Britain with Liverpool forward Sadio Mane. Photographs showed the players sitting close together on the plane without masks.

Arsenal and Gabon star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was forced to isolate at the team hotel after testing positive on Thursday, while Burkina Faso could be without up to five players when they kick off the competition again hosts Cameroon later on Sunday.

CAF has said teams must play if they have at least 11 players available. An outfield player will go in goal if a team has no recognised goalkeeper.

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