Cup of Nations heartache for Dumbuya

Mustapha Dumbuya made his debut for Sierre Leone against Tunisia on Saturday
Mustapha Dumbuya made his debut for Sierre Leone against Tunisia on Saturday
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MUSTAPHA DUMBUYA will not be going to the Africa Cup of Nations.

The 24-year-old’s international debut for Sierra Leone ended in disappointment at the weekend.

The Leone Stars were held to a goalless draw in Tunisia on Saturday.

That meant Tunisia progressed to the finals on the away goals rule, following a 2-2 aggregate score.

For Pompey, it represents excellent news as Dumbuya will now be free to play in January.

Had Sierra Leone qualified for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, the right-back could have been away for up to three weeks.

Stretching from January 19 until February 10, that could have seen him miss up to four Blues matches.

As it is, Dumbuya will remain available for club duty around that time.

The former Doncaster man missed two matches after earning the call-up for the Tunisia trip – winning his first appearance for the Leone Stars.

Dumbuya lined-up at right-back in a match that hosts Tunisia were regarded as the favourites to progress.

That was after last month’s first leg finished 2-2 in Freetown.

In an uninspiring match, the hosts’ chances of qualifying were lengthened greatly when Sierra Leone were reduced to 10 men after just 30 minutes.

Djibril Sanko received his marching orders with a straight red card following a challenge on Tunisia’s Hamdi Harbaoui.

Just five minutes later, the visitors to Monastir’s Stade Mustapha Ben Jannet had the ball in the back of the net.

However, it was correctly ruled offside and wasn’t allowed to stand.

Knowing they needed only a goalless draw to qualify, Tunisia comfortably held on to claim the result and progress.

Overall, the full line-up for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations was settled last weekend.

Surprisingly, Cameroon failed to overcome a 2-0 scoreline against Cape Verde and were eliminated.

Ethiopia qualified for their first finals since 1982, beating Sudan 2-0 to advance on away goals.

The Ivory Coast are likely to join them after their match in Senegal was abandoned due to severe crowd trouble. Talks with authorities are still progressing.

Defending champions Zambia and hosts South Africa will also be present in January, along with DR Congo, Nigeria, Niger, Ghana, Mali, Togo, Burkina Faso, Angola, Cape Verde, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.