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Sierra Leone's Gulf FC from 91-1 win to the verge of promotion despite being under investigation

9:25 pm AEST 11/8/22
Gulf FC of Sierra Leone.
The match that saw that huge scoreline registered was played in July and attracted global attention

Gulf FC of Sierra Leone will be allowed to play in the promotion play-offs despite being under investigation over claims of match manipulation.

The second-tier side qualified for the Super 10 phase of the league after beating Koquima Lebanon 3-0. Kahunla Rangers, Gulf’s closest rivals, were defeated 1-0 by Lumbebu United in replayed matches on Sunday.

The matches between these clubs drew attention when Gulf had beaten Koquima with a scoreline of 90 goals in difference, while Rangers saw off Lumbebu United 95-0.

The Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) launched an investigation and those results were annulled while the teams were suspended by the organisers of the games; the Eastern Region FA (ERFA) which is an affiliate body to the SLFA.

Later, the suspension was lifted by ERFA last Thursday after its disciplinary committee findings.

"Based on the report we got from the ERFA, we allowed the matches to be replayed so that we can meet our calendar," SLFA president Thomas Daddy Brima told BBC Sport Africa.

"But that does not in any way mean we have closed the case. We are sending it to Fifa and Caf for them to look at it and advise accordingly.

"I can confirm that Gulf FC will be allowed to take part in the Super 10."

Brima, however, raised his own doubts over the scorelines in the previous games.

"Nobody is taking this seriously, especially after explaining and people realising that, by whatever standards, nobody can score 90 goals in 90 minutes," he added.

Although the Sierra Leone FA promised to investigate the teams, players and officials, Gulf are on the hunt for a place in the Premier League. They will play Lamboi FC in their first game of the Super 10 phase on Saturday.

There are conflicting reports within ERFA as to whether the July matches, where a total of 187 goals were scored, were sanctioned.

ERFA chairman Prince Saquee, an executive committee member of the SLFA, said the games were not sanctioned.

"I didn't sanction the said games because of poor weather conditions, inadequate security, and sufficient time for the matches to be played for a full 90 minutes," Saquee said.

"I spoke to match officials [and said] not to go ahead with the matches, and as a result, the matches were postponed. I've presented my report to the SLFA."