CAF to discuss club fixtures amid virus spike in Morocco

President of the African Football Confederation (CAF) Ahmad Ahmad gives a speech (AFP PHOTO / STRINGER)

African football chiefs will decide Thursday whether to go ahead with CAF Champions League and CAF Confederation Cup matches in Morocco during September amid a coronavirus spike there.

The kingdom is scheduled to host the first legs of the Champions League semi-finals and the Confederation Cup ‘final four’ mini-tournament this month.

Confederation of African Football (CAF) officials are concerned after a rise in Covid-19 cases meant only one Moroccan league match has been played during the first two weeks of September.

At least 12 of the 16 Botola Pro 1 clubs reported positive cases, triggering an order that players must stay in hotels or sport centres rather than returning home after each match.

“A video conference meeting of the executive committee will address several important topics related to the football situation on the continent,” a CAF statement said.

Two senior CAF officials confirmed to AFP that the concluding stages of the Champions League and Confederation Cup competitions will be among the issues on the agenda.

Both Champions League semi-finals involve Moroccan and Egyptian clubs with Raja Casablanca playing Zamalek and Wydad Casablanca meeting Al Ahly.

The first legs are set for September 25 and 26 in Casablanca with the return matches in Egypt on October 2 and 3.

Both Confederation Cup semi-finals are slated for September 22 with Hassania Agadir tackling fellow Moroccans Renaissance Berkane and Pyramids of Egypt confronting Horoya of Guinea.

– Travel difficulties –

Horoya, the only sub-Saharan club among the semi-finalists in the two competitions, have experienced difficulties with travel plans.

“We are considering numerous options to reach Morocco, but it is far from a straightforward situation,” said club president Soufiane Souare.

Ahly and Zamalek reportedly have different opinions on what should happen if CAF decide that the Champions League first legs cannot go ahead as planned in Morocco.

Zamalek president Mortada Mansour told the club website that he would prefer both legs of the semi-finals be played in Egypt rather than be postponed.

“I propose we play the home and away games of the Champions League semi-finals in Egypt. We welcome our fellow Moroccans, for whom we have all the love and appreciation,” he said.

An announcement on Al Ahly TV said the record eight-time African champions would not object to a delay.

“We were planning to play the semi-finals as per the scheduled dates, (but) human and health conditions are more important than a competition,” the Cairo club said.

The semi-finals and finals of both competitions were originally scheduled for May, but could not be played because of the pandemic.

CAF Champions League and CAF Confederation Cup dates for rest of 2019/2020 season and complete 2020/2021 season:

Champions League


Semi-finals – Raja Casablanca (MAR) v Zamalek (EGY), Wydad Casablanca (MAR) v Al Ahly (EGY), first legs: Sept 25/26, second: Oct 2/3

Final – Oct 16/17 (provisional), venue to be decided

Lists of clubs who have so far qualified for the 2020/2021 Confederation of African Football (CAF) competitions (alphabetical order):

Champions League

Two entrants permitted

Algeria: CR Belouizdad, Mouloudia Alger; Angola: Petro Luanda, Primeiro Agosto; Democratic Republic of Congo: TP Mazembe, V Club; Guinea: Ashanti Siguiri, Horoya; Nigeria: Enyimba, Plateau Utd; South Africa: Kaizer Chiefs, Mamelodi Sundowns; Tunisia: Esperance, CS Sfaxien; Zambia: Forest Rangers, Nkana

One entrant

Benin: Buffles Borgou; Botswana: Jwaneng Galaxy; Burkina Faso: Rahimo; Burundi: Le Messager Ngozi; Cameroon: PWD Bamenda; Comoros: US Zilimadjou; Congo Brazzaville: AS Otoho; Djibouti: CF Garde Republicaine/SIAF; Equatorial Guinea: Cano Sport; eSwatini: Young Buffaloes; Gabon: Bouenguidi Sport; Gambia: Real Banjul; Ghana: Asante Kotoko; Ivory Coast: Racing Club Abidjan; Kenya: Gor Mahia; Lesotho: Bantu; Madagascar: Fosa Juniors; Malawi: Nyasa Big Bullets; Mozambique: Costa do Sol; Niger: AS Sonidep; Reunion: JS Saint-Pierroise; Rwanda: APR; Sao Tome e Principe: Agrosport Monte Cafe; Senegal: Teungueth; Seychelles: Foresters; Somalia: Mogadishu City; Tanzania: Simba SC; Togo: ASKO Kara; Uganda: Vipers; Zanzibar: Mlandege; Zimbabwe: FC Platinum

— Libya disqualified after failing to stage league or cup competitions for two years due to civil war

— Central African Republic, Ethiopia and South Sudan will not enter

Confederation Cup

Two entrants permitted

Algeria: Entente Setif, JS Kabylie; Angola: Bravos Maquis, Sagrada Esperanca; DR Congo: AS Maniema Union, DC Motema Pembe; Guinea: CI Kamsar, Wakriya; Morocco: Tihad Casablanca; Nigeria: Kano Pillars, Rivers Utd; South Africa: Orlando Pirates, Bloemfontein Celtic: Zambia: Green Eagles, NAPSA Stars

One entrant

Benin: ESAE; Botswana: Orapa Utd; Burkina Faso: Salitas; Burundi: Musongati; Cameroon: Coton Sport; Congo Brazzaville: Etoile; Equatorial Guinea: Akonangui; Gabon: AS Mangasport; Gambia: Armed Forces; Ghana: Ashanti Gold; Ivory Coast: San Pedro; Madagascar: CNaPS Sport; Malawi: Blue Eagles; Mozambique: UD Songo; Niger: US Gendarmerie Nationale; Reunion: SS Jeanne d’Arc; Rwanda: AS Kigali; Sao Tome e Principe: Porto Real; Senegal: ASC Diaraf; Seychelles: Cote d’Or; Somalia: Horseed; South Sudan: Al-Rabita; Tanzania: Namungo; Togo: Unisport Sokode; Uganda: Kampala Capital City Authority; Zanzibar: KVZ

— Libya disqualified after failing to stage league or cup competitions for two years due to civil war

— Central African Republic and Ethiopia will not enter

Note: Countries ranked 1 to 12 by results over previous five seasons permitted two entrants in both competitions

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