Covid crush: African Champions League semi-final postponed to just four days before final

October 23 – The second leg of the African Champions League semi-final between Egypt’s Zamalek and Raja Casablanca has been postponed for a week after eight players in the Moroccan club’s squad tested positive for Covid-19.

The Confederation of African Football agreed to delay Saturday’s all-important showdown until November 1 after players and officials of Raja were placed into quarantine and were not allowed to travel for at least a week.

Zamalek won the first leg 1-0 in Casablanca last Sunday.

The final remains scheduled for November 6, CAF said, meaning the rescheduled semi-final cannot be postponed again. It also gives the winner just four days to rest.

The other African Champions League semi-final also involves Moroccan and Egyptian teams. Egypt’s Al Ahly leads Morocco’s Wydad 2-0. Their second leg is in Cairo today.

A team that doesn’t show up for a game would normally have to forfeit but CAF said its committee for club competitions decided to postpone considering the circumstances faced by Raja. The pandemic “requires temporary adaptations to be made to regulations,” CAF said.

“Faced with this situation, in order to protect the integrity of the competition and promote a spirit of solidarity, CAF agreed to postpone the return match to Nov. 1.”

The virus has also affected CAF’s other major club competition, the CAF Confederation Cup, Africa’s version of the Europa League. Horoya of Guinea were badly depleted by an outbreak ahead of its semi-final against Egypt’s Pyramids on Tuesday, also in Casablanca.

Horoya had just 14 senior squad players available for the semi-final – 12 outfield and two goalkeepers – and lost 2-0.

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