The Egyptian football Association (EFA) announced on Saturday that the U20 national football team will return home after failing to participate in the first two games in the current African Cup of Nations qualifiers in Tunisia due to several coronavirus infections.
“The EFA started procedures to bring the U20 national team back home amid the current unfavorable circumstances that prevented its participation in the African qualifiers,” read a statement by the Egyptian football governing body on Saturday morning.
“We asked the sports ministry to prepare a medically equipped private jet to bring the team back to Cairo to complete the treatment of the players infected with COVID-19 in order to ensure the best medical care for them,” the statement added.
More than a dozen coronavirus infections forced Egypt to withdraw from an opening game against Libya earlier last week in the qualifying tournament for the finals in Mauritania in 2021.
Sadly, bad luck continued as the young Pharaohs were made to forfeit another qualifier against hosts Tunisia on Friday after their last-minute attempt to assemble 15 non-infected players failed.
Two players flew from Egypt to Tunisia on Thursday in an attempt to complete the number of footballers required by African governing body CAF for the team to play, but the move proved futile after two more players tested positive for COVID-19.
"The EFA will open an investigation into the reasons behind what happened for the youth team in Tunisia," concluded the EFA's statment.
Egypt are now most likely to miss out on the Nations Cup finals, which will take place in February and March next year in Mauritania.
(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)