Egypt welcomes hosting African Champions League matches after Cameroon withdrawal

Ahmed Abd El Rasoul , Monday 13 Jul 2020

Cameroon declined to host the final mini-tournament due to coronavirus pandemic and the strict measures required to host games.

Ashraf Sobhy
File Photo: Egypt Youth and Sports Minister Ashraf Sobhy (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Egypt’s Sports Minister Ashraf Sobhi has welcomed the idea of hosting the remaining matches of the African Champions League after Cameroon officially withdrew on Monday.

The central African country was due to host both the semi-final and final matches of the prestigious tournament in September, before announcing its withdrawal in a press conference on Monday due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Reports in the Egyptian media confirmed recently that Egypt will request to host the games, especially after their success in hosting the U-23 Africa Cup of Nations as well as the continental tournaments on a senior level.

“The government and the ministry support and welcome the idea,” Sobhi told Egyptian radio station On Sport on Monday.

“We contacted FIFA Executive Committee member Hany Abo-Rida [the former president of the Egyptian Football Association] and the current head of the Association's normalisation committee Amr El-Ganainy to offer facilities to host the remaining matches of the Champions League.

“We are monitoring the situation and we gave the football association the green light,” the minister added.

All continental sports activities have been suspended since March due to the coronavirus pandemic, including the CAF Champions League and the CAF Confederation Cup, which were originally scheduled to be played on 1 May.

The CAF executive committee held a meeting last month and decided that the CAF Champions League and the Confederation Cup will resume in September in a final four format. The semi-finals will be played in a single match.

Prior to the CAF competitions’ postponement, Egypt’s big names Ahly and Zamalek had been set to play the Champions League semi-finals against Moroccan sides Wydad de Casablanca and Raja de Casablanca respectively.

The Confederation Cup mini-tournament will be played in Morocco while the venue of the Champions League is yet to be decided.

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