Guinea won the controversial drawing of lots for a spot in the African Cup of Nations quarter-finals, leaving Mali FA president Boubacar Diarra to complain: “It is cruel to be eliminated at this stage. For 20 years Mali haven’t had a team like this one.”
There were two balls in a pot, with Amara Dabo, an official with Guinea’s sports ministry, and Diarra told to pick a ball at the same time.
Dabo picked out the right ball and Guinea will now face Ghana on Sunday. Diarra’s face fell as his ball was revealed and elimination beckoned.
The two teams were forced to draw lots after finishing all three of their Group D matches 1-1.
“We have no other choice,” said Issa Hayatou, the president of the Confederation of African Football. The Ivory Coast won the group and now face Algeria.
The drawing of lots is rare, but not unprecedented, though many observers believe there must be a better way to judge which team remains in the tournament if two countries have the exact same record.
“We don’t have the power to change anything,” Mali’s team spokesman Modibo Traoré said. “CAF have to change.”