COVID-19 halts CAF Champions League semi-final match

CAF postpones semi-final match between Raja and Zamalek
Zamalek won the first leg of the TOTAL CAF Semi-Final clash in Morocco against Raja

By Preye Campbell

A Total CAF Champions League semifinal second leg match between Zamalek of Egypt and Moroccan side, Raja Club Athletic has been postponed, CAF has announced.

Africa’s major football body explained, in a statement, that the Champions League clash was inevitable after eight players of Raja contracted coronavirus.

Moroccan health authorities thus cancelled the travel permit earlier granted the club.

“On Tuesday, October 20, RAJA CA informed CAF of the quarantine of its team by the Moroccan health authorities, following the detection of eight players declared positive for COVID-19 tests,” reads a statement released by CAF on Thursday.

“In addition, we received decisions of the Moroccan authorities canceling the special authorization to travel outside Moroccan territory granted to RAJA and thus imposing the club a self-isolation for one week, until October 27, 2020, date of a new PCR test.

“As a result, the team will not be able to travel to Egypt for their second leg of the 2019/20 T0TAL CAF Champions League Semi-Finals against Zamalek, scheduled for 24 October 2020. ”

CAF stated further: “Faced with this situation, in order to protect the integrity of the competition and promote a spirit of solidarity, the Organizing Committee for Inter-Club Competitions and Management of Club Licensing System has agreed to postpone the return match of the semi-final of the Champions League between Zamalek SC and Raja CA on November 1st, 2020.

“At the same time, the match Al Ahly SC – WAC is maintained and the Final of the 2019/20 Total CAF Champions League remains scheduled for November 06th, 2020.

“For CAF, the health of players is a categorical imperative in accordance with CAF COVID- 19 health directives which offer guarantees for the health and safety of players and officials while facilitating a return to play with the holding of matches.

“The outbreak of the coronavirus disease (“COVID-19″) pandemic requires temporary adaptations to be made to regulations depending on the evolution of the pandemic and the available scientific knowledge.

“Temporary measures and practices taken here are only justified in the face of these exceptional circumstances. They can thus evolve according to the situation.”

Zamalek won the first leg 1-0 at the Mohammed V Stadium Casablanca on Sunday October 18 2020 through Achraf Bencharki’s 18th minute goal and will now have to wait for a decider in the home encounter.