The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has made a U-turn that will allow several countries to host their Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers on home-soil after all.
Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Niger and Burundi can now play Nations Cup ties at home later this month.
However the decision from CAF is only a temporary lifting of the ban because of the current travel restrictions being implemented aound the world due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The CAF emergency committee has based on the Covid-19 pandemic and current travel restrictions decided to exceptionally lift the ban on the Siaka Steven Stadium and allow only the remaining AFCON 2021 qualifiers (match-day 5 and 6) to be played,” CAF said in a letter to the Sierra Leone FA.
“After the above-mentioned match-days, Sierra Leone’s playing territory will automatically again be removed from the list of CAF approved stadiums and will not be available for selection on CAF competition management system.”
Similar letters were also sent to Burkina Faso and Burundi.
CAF had asked the four countries to move their final home matchesin the qualifiers to neutral venues after it had ruled that their stadia did not meet the required standards to host international matches.
Sierra Leone had already secured a venue in Conakry, the capital of Guinea to host their Group L tie against Benin.
But the match will be brought back to Freetown and Burkina Faso will host their Group B encounter with South Sudan in Ouagadougou.
Burundi, who had been in talks with Morocco to host their tie against Central African Republic in Casablanca, will now be able to play in Bujumbura in Group E.
The Niger Football Federation website has confirmed that their game against Ivory Coast on 26 March will be played at the Stade General Seyni Kountche in Niamey.