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CAF says Qatar had guaranteed safety of Zamalek's delegation ahead of Super Cup

Egypt's Zamalek are now expected to show up when the African Super Cup takes place in Qatari capital Doha on 14 February

Hatem Maher , Wednesday 5 Feb 2020
File Photo: Egyptian club Zamalek celebrate winning the 2019 CAF Confederation Cup (AFP)

Zamalek are likely to backtrack on their threat to withdraw from the African Super Cup after being given assurances by CAF that the club's delegation would be secured by Qatari authorities when the team face Tunisia's Esperance in Doha later this month.

Tensions have been on the rise since Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt imposed a boycott on Qatar in June 2017, accusing it of supporting terrorist groups. The tiny Arab Gulf nation denies the accusations.

Zamalek's firebrand chairman Mortada Mansour, who is known for his acid-tongued comments, insisted that the Cairo club would not feature in the Super Cup unless their safety is guaranteed, citing alleged security threats.

Mansour said he and his two sons had received death threats from a Qatari intelligence officer. He did not provide substantial evidence to back up his claims.

Ahmed Mansour, one of his sons, met with CAF president Ahmad Ahmad in Moroccan capital Rabat last week to discuss the issue.

On Wednesday, Zamalek published a letter they had received from CAF, with the African governing body forwarding a lengthy letter from Qatari Football Association head Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani that it said serves as a "safety guarantee."

"I am pleased to reiterate our full commitment when hosting a successful event, adhering to the highest international standards. All to ensure the enjoyment, security and safety of the participants," al-Thani wrote in the letter.

CAF said Qatar's FA letter had addressed Zamalek's concerns.

Zamalek, who won the Confederation Cup last season, will face Champions League winners Esperance in Doha on 14 February.

The White Knights won three African Super Cup titles, the last of which came at the expense of Morocco's Wydad Casablanca in 2003.

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