File photo of Egypt's U20 national team (Ahram)
Confederation of African Football (CAF) PCR tests ahead of the second round of qualifying for the U20 Africa Cup of Nations (U20 AFCON) resulted in 14 coronavirus cases in the Egyptian team for the second time.
The Young Pharaohs are scheduled to face hosts Tunisia Friday in a tournament organised by the Union of North African Football Federations (UNAF), from which teams qualify for the U20 AFCON.
Initially, 17 players were announced to have contracted the virus. Later on, PCR tests returned 14 positive results — 13 players and coach Rabei Yassin.
On Tuesday, the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) stated the team will pull out of the tournament and return home after failing to participate in Tuesday’s opening match against Libya, as they were one player short of the minimum required to play.
After that EFA decided the youth team would play the remaining matches in the qualifying tournament despite the coronavirus infections. The team had to summon two more players — Gouna defender Ahmed Hossam, and Ceramica Cleopatra’s midfielder Mostafa “Messi” Saad — to fly to Tunisia to join the team to reach the minimum number of required players to compete.
If Egypt continues in the tournament the team will face Tunisia Friday before battling it out with Algeria and Morocco on 24 and 27 December, respectively.
The U20 African Nations Cup will take place in Mauritania from 14 February to 4 March 2021.
(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)