Following their 1-1 draws throughout the pool stages, Guinea and Mali were forced to decide which team would go through to the quarter-finals through the drawing of lots.
The two sides had identical records, namely: points, goal difference and goals scored. Their draw in Mongomo on Wednesday forced officials to invoke the rule of lot drawing to settle the matter. The draw took place in the Confederation of African Football (CAF) hotel in Malobo, during a meeting of the competition’s organising committee.
The names of the two teams were placed into two balls and an official from each side was invited to pick one ball of the team which would go through. Mali’s football association president Boubacar Diarra went first and pulled out the ball that placed them third in the group. Amara Dabo, financial director of the Guinea sports ministry, then selected the ball that ensured his team’s progression to the quarter-finals.
The last time lots were drawn to decide a team’s qualification in this tournament was in 1988 when Algeria went through at Ivory Coast’s expense.
This regulation of lot-drawing has not gone by without its fair share of controversy, however. Both teams decried the measure as it would be unfair to everyone involved; relying on luck off the pitch instead of skill and hard work on it.
CAF is reportedly aware of this and there is a possibility that this rule will change in the future. The media director of CAF, Junior Binyam stated that, “Regulations are not static, they are dynamic. We will find a way of improving the criteria to make them be decided by actions on the field.”
Guinea will go on to face Ghana on Sunday for their quarter-final encounter.