Rivers United, Nigeria’s only remaining club in the CAF Confederations Cup risk elimination from the competition over COVID-19 restrictions.
Rivers Utd’s opposition, South Africa’s Bloemfontein Celtic have been prevented from coming to Nigeria after the NCDC cited the new COVID-19 variant.
CAF, unyielding to the demands of the football federation in Nigeria has insisted that the game must go on as scheduled or Rivers Utd will be punished appropriately.
Rivers Utd hold a 2-0 lead from the first leg in South Africa but may be kicked out over Nigeria’s health restrictions.
The Nigeria Football Federation has written to Bloemfontein Celtic pleading for a postponement of the game or taking the match to a neighbouring country with less-strict COVID-19 regulations.
In a letter seen by News Central TV by the NFF’s General Secretary, Mohammed Sanusi and addressed to the CAF Acting General Secretary, he wrote that the federation wasn’t granted waiver for Bloemfontein Celtic, and approval for the match has been declined.
“I kindly refer you to the subject matter and regrettably inform you that, our request for a waiver for the Bloemfontein Celtic FC Contingent to Nigeria, for the CAF CC Match #70 has been declined by the Authorities, ” he wrote.
The rapid spread in cases of COVID-19 was cited as the reason for the disapproval of the waiver.
The letter also stated that the refusal to grant the waiver was to help limit the spread of COVID-19, stressing that the relationship between the two countries is cordial.
“In view of the foregoing, Nigeria Football Federation wish to Kindly request the General Secretary to consider the postponement of the game and a possible rescheduling of both the Date and Venue of the match, with the possibility of staging the match in any of the Nigeria neighboring countries with a little less stringent COVID -19 protocols.
“Please understand that, the health policy as put in place by the Nigeria Health authority is aimed at controlling the spread of the already alarming number of COVID-19 infection in Nigeria and not aimed at South African Nationals. The relationship between these two countries remain cordial, ” the letter concluded.
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