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banner Tuesday, 1 May, 2001, 11:38 GMT 12:38 UK
West Africa pledges for Guinea
Guinea is banned by Fifa from all international competitions
Wafu is mediating to reinstate Guinea in its World Cup qualifying campaign
The West African Football Union have begun an initiative to try and end Guinea's suspension from Fifa and possibly still allow the country to complete their World Cup qualifying programme.

Wafu vice-president Mohamed Lamine Cheiger and the Ivorian-based secretary-general of the regional organization, Aka Malan, travelled to Conakry last month for two days of talks with the government and football officials.

But the two-man delegation did not meet with Abdelkader Sangare, the sports minister directly responsible for the malaise.

Malan told the BBC: "The main point is that Guinea have to organise fresh elections for its FA under Fifa's supervision if they want to come back in the qualifying campaign".

"We are still waiting to hear from Mr Sangare. Time is now flying as the qualification campaigns will soon end," added Malan.

Emotive reactions

Guinea were dramatically suspended by Fifa and also expelled from the World Cup and African Nations Cup qualifiers in March.

The main point is that Guinea have to organise fresh elections for its FA under Fifa's supervision if they want to come back in the qualifying campaign
  Aka Malan
Football in the country has ground to a halt and a strong chance of reaching the World Cup finals disappeared with the suspension, raising a storm of criticism in the country.

Sangare suspended the executive of the Guinea Football Federation (Fegafoot) in January, a day after the Sylli Nationale were held to an unconvincing 1-1 draw by Malawi in Conakry.

That result ended their 100 per cent record in the World Cup qualifiers but came just a fortnight after a similar disappointing home draw with Togo in the Nations Cup qualifiers.

Sangare was accused of an emotive reaction but stood his ground when Fifa demanded the federation be restored to office or Guinea face suspension.

New elections

Instead, the minister organised new elections for the football body, with fresh faces voted into office.

This did not satisfy Fifa and, after two deadlines, Guinea's membership of Fifa was suspended on the eve of their under-20 team competing in the final of the African Youth Championships, and then they were later kicked out of the World Cup and Nations Cup qualifying campaigns.

'Titi' Camara
National team captain Aboubacar 'Titi' Camara is disappointed with the situation
Sangare has continued to deflect criticism, saying Fifa had no right to interfere in Guinea's internal affairs.

But the impasse is bound to eventually cost his country much more than it will affect Fifa.

This was the essence of the message passed on by the Wafu delegation, who met with Alhassane Sow, the director-general of the sports ministry.

Message from Fifa

Sangare was in Mali as part of the organising committee for the planning of November's hosting of the Amilcar Cabral Cup.

Cheiger and Malan are planning to return to Conakry to meet the minister and also take a message from Fifa.

A quick mediation process might still give Guinea a chance to sneak back into the World Cup and African Nations Cup qualifiers, as there are precedents for this extraordinary exception.

Time, however, is against the Wafu bid and there is sure to be major opposition from countries like Senegal and South Africa, who have benefited greatly in their respective qualifying campaigns from the suspension of Guinea.

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See also:

21 Mar 01 |  Africa
Guinea minister angry with Fifa
14 Feb 01 |  Africa
Troubled Guinea elects new FA
06 Mar 01 |  Sports Talk
Should Guinea have been banned?
02 Mar 01 |  Africa
Fifa bans Guinea
11 Apr 01 |  Sports Talk
What has gone wrong with Wafu?
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