Sierra Leone beats Benin to qualify for AFCON

Africa Cup Of Nations trophy during a past Africa Cup of Nations Final soccer match. (Photo by liewig christian/Corbis via Getty Images)

Sierra Leone became the 24th and final country to qualify for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations after defeating Benin 1-0 at the National Stadium in Freetown on Tuesday.

The match had been rescheduled by CAF in April after Benin filed a complaint over a COVID-19-related dispute which forced the Group L match not to take place in March.

FILE PHOTO: A player holds the Africa Cup of Nations trophy. (Photo by Fared Kotb/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Sierra Leone had gone into the match needing a win to qualify while Benin only needed a draw.

Veteran striker Kei Kamara scored the only goal of the game after 19 minutes to send the hosts into their first AFCON appearance since 1996.

The win saw Sierra Leone finish second in Group L with seven points, level with Benin who ultimately missed the cut due to an inferior goal difference.

It will also be the first time Sierra Leone will be playing in the tournament since the turn of the century.

Sierra Leone’s qualification means CAF will be able to hold the draw for the tournament with all teams confirmed once it resolves challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic which forced the event to be postponed.