African side banned for 91-1 win could be promoted


A second-tier football club in Sierra Leone will be allowed to play in promotion play-offs despite still being under investigation for alleged match manipulation in a game that ended 91-1.

Gulf FC qualified for the Super 10 phase of the league after they defeated Koquima Lebanon 3-0 while closest challengers Kahunla Rangers lost 1-0 to Lumbebu United in replayed matches on Sunday.

The meetings between the respective clubs last month drew global headlines after Kono-based Gulf beat city rivals Koquima by a margin of 90 goals and Rangers, from Kenama, thrashed Lumbebu United 95-0.

Those two results were annulled because of allegations of match manipulation, forcing the Sierra Leone Football Association to launch an investigation.

The four teams involved were suspended by the organisers of the games, the Eastern Region FA, an affiliate body to the SLFA.

However, the bans were lifted by the ERFA last Thursday based on the findings of its disciplinary committee, which are yet to be made public.

“Based on the report we got from the ERFA we allowed the matches to be replayed so that we can meet our calendar,” SLFA president Thomas Daddy Brima told BBC Sport Africa.

“But that does not in any way mean we have closed the case. We are sending it to FIFA and CAF for them to look at it and advise accordingly.

“I can confirm that Gulf FC will be allowed to take part in the Super 10.”

Brima has also raised doubts over the scorelines of the matches, which he said were practically impossible, even though the SLFA included the scores in a press statement.

“Nobody is taking this seriously, especially after explaining and people realising that by whatever standards nobody can score 90 goals in 90 minutes,” he added.

The SLFA said it would investigate players and officials from all four clubs involved, designated match officials and the ERFA.

Yet Gulf FC remain in the hunt for a place in the West African country’s Premier League next season, and they will face Lamboi FC in their first game in the Super 10 on Saturday.

The chief executive officer of Kahunla Rangers, Eric Kaitell, had condemned his team and the other three clubs involved on social media last month and said he would set up his own committee to investigate his side.

“I want to state firmly that I strongly condemn such unsportsmanlike behaviour displayed by my team, and the other teams involved,” Kaitell said.