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Friday, 30 October 2020

CAF Champions League and Confederation Cup semis postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions in Morocco

The CAF tournament matches will be pushed back a month as a precaution against the spread of coronavirus

Mahmoud Sheleib , Thursday 10 Sep 2020
Zamalek v Esperance Sportive de Tunis
Soccer Football - African Champions League - Quarter Final First Leg - Zamalek v Esperance Sportive de Tunis - Cairo International Stadium, Cairo, Egypt - February 28, 2020 Zamalek's Achraf Bencharki scores their second goal (Reuters)
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The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has postponed on Thursday the final stages of its inter-clubs competitions, the African Champions League and the Confederation Cup to be held in October instead of its initially scheduled date at the end of September.

CAF Executive Committee decided to postpone the semis of the continental tournaments another time in fears of the spread of coronavirus in Morocco in the latest period.

"In light of restrictions in the Kingdom of Morocco as a result of COVID-19 pandemic leading to constraints in air travel, the remaining matches of the Total CAF Champions League and Total CAF Confederation Cup has been rescheduled following a request by the Royal Moroccan Football Federation to make way for easy travel of the participating clubs," a statement on the CAF website read.

Both competitions were supposed to end in may but have been interrupted by COVID-19 pandemic with the semi-finals and finals yet to be played. They were rescheduled to be played at the end of September before current circumstances in Morocco pushed it further back.

The African Champions League semifinals are rescheduled to play the first leg matches on 17 and 18 October, and the second leg matches will be played on 23 and 24 October. The final game has been set on 6 November.

The African Confederation Cup semis will be played on just a single-match format will be held in Morocco on 19 and 20 October and the final will be played on 29 October.

Egypt has three teams participating in the anticipated semis; as Zamalek is scheduled to face Rajaa Casablanca and Ahly will be facing Wydad Casablanca in the African Champions League, while Pyramids FC will face Guinea’s Horoya in the Confederation cup

Zamalek and Pyramids FC refused the postponement during the latest CAF meeting held remotely online three days ago, as the Whites suggested to play the games in Egypt in case of cannot hold matches in Morocco.

During the online presser, CAF president Ahmad Ahmad revealed details on the African Champions League venue, “If two Egyptian teams reach the final then the match will be hosted by Egypt. And if two Moroccan teams reach the final then the game will be played in Morocco.”

“However a team from Egypt and another from Morocco reach the final, then there will be a draw to determine which country will host the game,” he added.

CAF revealed on July that the African Confederation Cup semi-final matches will be played on 22 September, while the final on 27 of the same month and all games will be behind closed doors.

Regarding the Champions League, the first leg matches was scheduled to be played in Morocco on 25 and 26 September, and the second leg matches hosted by Cairo on 2 and 3 October, while the final match was supposed to take place on 16 or 17 October.

CAF also revealed that the next season's competitions will be affected by the delays. The first preliminary stage of the both inter-club tournaments has been pushed back to 27-29 November, and 4-6 December. While the second preliminary stage which includes the Egyptian teams is scheduled for 22-23 December and 5-6 January.

The teams will need to submit their squad lists in the period between 21 October and 10 November as for the first phase, and the second phase will be between 11 and 30 November.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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