The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has postponed the second leg of the African Champions League semi-final between Zamalek and Raja to 1 November instead of its initially scheduled date of 24 October due to coronavirus infections among the Moroccan team.
In a statement published Thursday, the African governing body said that the date of the final game will remain as scheduled on 6 November.
"For the 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 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 justified in the face of these exceptional circumstances. They can thus evolve according to the situation," the statement read.
Morocco’s champions Raja were banned from traveling by Moroccan authorities Tuesday after discovering eight new cases of coronavirus infection. The team has been put into self-isolation for one week according to local medical guidelines.
On Thursday, Raja announced that they had discovered six new cases in their squad, bringing the total number of infected players to 14, in addition to one case among the coaching staff.
Zamalek chairman Mortada Mansour said earlier that he did not mind a postponement, provided that CAF will also push back the final, which is scheduled for 6 November.
Mansour is worried Zamalek might have to play two crunch Champions League ties in the space of a week, should they overcome Raja in the second leg.
In the other semi-final clash, Zamalek's Cairo rivals Ahly will host another Moroccan outfit, Wydad, on Friday. Ahly are the overwhelming favourites to advance after securing a 2-0 first-leg victory in Casablanca.
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