Hosts, Cameroon will be hoping they can sail to the quarterfinal of the Africa Cup of Nations when they take on a Covid-19 hit Comoros at the Paul Biya Stadium, on Monday.
A host of Comoros players including two goalkeepers Moyadh Ousseini and Ali Ahamada tested positive for Covid whereas first-choice custodian Ben Boina is injured.
Them, including their head coach Amir Abdou, will not feature against the five time champions.
According to the CAF rules, unless something dramatically changes, an outfield player is likely to be between the sticks for the AFCON first-timers.
As Cameroon have enjoyed an unbeaten campaign so far, finishing top in Group A, Comoros stunned Ghana in a thrilling Group D finale to progress to this phase.
After losing just one game in the qualifiers, the Indomitable Lions got the 33rd edition of the continental tournament underway on January 9, when they came from behind to claim a 2-1 victory over Burkina Faso.
This was followed by a dominant 4-1 victory over Ethiopia four days later when Vincent Aboubakar struck twice in the second half to inspire another comeback win before wrapping things up in the group stages with a 1-1 draw with Cape Verde last time out.
In that encounter, the Cameroonians opened the scoring for the first time in the tournament in the 39th minute through Aboubakar.
That was before Garry Rodrigues struck eight minutes after the half-time break to force a share of the spoils and send Cape Verde through to the last 16.
Now heading into the round of 16, Toni Conceicao’s men could not have wished for a better draw and will be licking their lips as they go up against an inexperienced Comoros side who are making their first appearance at the tournament.
Cameroon have conquered the continent on five occasions, including their last title win in 2017 when they claimed a 2-1 victory over Egypt in the final.
They are now unbeaten in each of their last seven games in all competitions, claiming six wins and one draw since September’s 2-1 loss to Ivory Coast.
However, there have been several surprising results at the tournament, including Comoros’ 3-2 victory over Ghana in Tuesday’s final Group C showdown which ensured their passage to the knockout stages as one of the four best third-placed sides.