CAF monitoring Mali crisis where Ahly players are stranded

Ahmed Abd El-Rasoul, Wednesday 2 May 2012

Africa's football governing body will take the necessary measures to protect players stranded in Mali following military coup Monday, says technical director

Shatta (Photo: AL-Ahram)

The Confederation of African Football's (CAF) technical director, Abdel Moneim Hussein “Shatta", has confirmed that the soccer governing body, headed by Eissa Hayatou, is monitoring the situation of stranded players of both Egypt's Al-Ahly and Nigeria's Sunshine Stars teams in Mali,

The two were playing recently in Mali but can't leave the country following a military coup in the capital, Bamako, Monday night.

"We are monitoring the situation minute by minute. When we decided to hold the matches it was safe there, but what happened was a surprise," Shatta was quoted as saying by Ahram Sport Wednesday.

The Cairo giants had been visiting the West African nation, which has been facing violence and instability since an initial coup in March, to play their African Champions League clash against Stade Malien Sunday in which they were defeated 1-0.

"CAF bears a heavy burden for providing the appropriate atmosphere for football in Africa. We are in negotiations with political officials in Mali to ensure the security of the stranded players," added Shatta.

Return leg with Stade Malien may be postponed

Ahly is supposed to host the Malian side in the return leg on 12 May. Board member Khaled Mortagy said yesterday that the club may ask CAF to postpone the match.

"CAF rules are flexible and we may accept to postpone the match, but firstly we hope the crisis ends soon," explained Shatta.

ENPPI could face Cercle outside Mali

Egyptian side ENPPI and Moroccan side Wydad Casablanca announced Tuesday that they will ask CAF to change the location of games against Malian sides Cercle and Real Bamako for their return legs in the CAF Confederation Cup.

The games were scheduled to be played in Mali, but the Egyptian and Moroccan clubs are requesting changes of venue because of recent violence and instability in the West African country.

"It is ENPPI's right to ask for a change of venue, and we will discuss the matter and may approve their request," Shatta concluded.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter: @AO Sports)

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