CAF set to postpone Champions League, Confederation Cup semis

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) is reportedly set to announce new dates for the semi-finals of the Champions League and the Confederations Cup.

The first-leg encounters are currently scheduled to take place later this month, with Zamalek facing Raja Casablanca on 25 September and while Ahly will take on Wydad Casablanca a day later in the Champions League. The second leg will take place on October 2nd and 3rd in Egypt. The final will be played on neutral ground if teams from Egypt and Morocco qualify from the semis.

However, if two Egyptian teams or Moroccan teams progress to the final, the one-off match will be played in either Egypt or Morocco.

In the Confederation Cup Pyramids will battle Horoya while RSB Berkane and Hassania Agadir will lock horns in an all Moroccan clash in one-off matches.

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But in an online meeting with representatives of all clubs involved with CAF, the continental body announced its intention to postpone the matches due to rising cases of the coronavirus in Morocco. CAF is now likely to reschedule the semi-finals of both competitions to October.

Morocco imposed a lockdown on Casablanca and shut its schools Monday, the day they were supposed to reopen after summer, in a bid to stop the spread of Covid-19.

The new measures, which include restrictions on movement and a night-time curfew, would be in place for two weeks in the commercial capital, the authorities said a statement issued late Sunday.

The country has seen a spike in coronavirus cases in recent weeks. It recorded 2,234 new infections on Sunday, a record for a single day, with 42 percent of them in Casablanca. The government also announced the closure of all schools and universities in the city for at least two weeks with the adoption of distance education.

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The authorities blame the spread of Covid-19 on people’s failure to adhere to health protocols.

Eight-time African champions Al Ahly announced their readiness to abide by the decision. “We were always planning on playing the semis-finals as per CAF’s scheduled dates,” they announced on Al Ahly TV.

“However, due to the current situation in Morocco and the difficulty for Raja and Wydad to play their matches because of the spread of the coronavirus, we don’t mind postponing the games.”

“The human and health conditions are more important than a competition,” he concluded.

However, not all clubs are in support of the plan. Zamalek’s director of football Amir Mortada Mansour told the club’s official website that fellow they as well as fellow Egyptian side Pyramids were in favour of maintaining the current schedule.

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“Both clubs rejected postponing the matches, proposing that both home and away legs be played in Egypt in case it’s not possible to play in Morocco,” Mansour added.

CAF is expected to make an official statement on Thursday.

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