CAF calls urgent meeting with SA parties after Sundowns suffer similar travel setback as Chiefs

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Mamelodi Sundowns were unable to travel to Algeria this week for their CAF Champions League game. Picture: Samuel Shivambu / BackpagePi
Mamelodi Sundowns were unable to travel to Algeria this week for their CAF Champions League game. Picture: Samuel Shivambu / BackpagePi

SPORT


In the wake of Mamelodi Sundowns being the second South African representative in interclub competition to be grounded by travel restrictions, CAF has called an emergency meeting today.

Safa, Sundowns, Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs will be part of the meeting.

An attempt by CAF to find a way-forward between all parties concerned
CAF

According to the federation’s statement, the meeting “is an attempt by CAF to find a way-forward between all parties concerned”.

Sundowns’ CAF Champions League campaign has been thrown into disarray after their trip to Algeria was cancelled on Thursday due to “medical restrictions” in the north African country.

Sundowns were due to face CR Belouizdad on Tuesday.

The Brazilians setback came a week after Chiefs were denied visas to travel to Morocco for their opening Champions League group game against Wydad last weekend.

READ: Mondli Makhanya | CAF’s ineptitude fails Africa

“In recent weeks, a number of teams have raised some concerns about travelling to South Africa and also receiving South African teams for interclub competition fixtures amid the Covid-19 concerns. The purpose of the meeting is an attempt by CAF to find a way forward between all parties concerned,” read the CAF statement.

Like Chiefs’ botched trip, the cancellation of Sundowns’ travel to Algeria will come at a huge cost for the club. Visas had been issued by the Algerian embassy, flights, accommodation and training facilities were already booked.

“The cancellation comes after the Algerian FA requested a postponement due to further medical restrictions in Algeria, while Mamelodi Sundowns were preparing for departure to Algeria,” Sundowns said in a statement.

“Sundowns had made all the necessary arrangements and acquired visas issued by the Algerian embassy last Friday. By the time of receiving the communication from CAF earlier today [Thursday], Sundowns were about to travel to the OR Tambo International Airport to catch a flight to Doha for a connecting flight to Algeria.”

The Brazilians are top of their group after their 2-0 home win over Al Hilal of Sudan at the weekend.

Meanwhile, Chiefs’ Group C game against Wydad Athletic was abandoned and CAF directed the teams to play it on Friday in Egypt.

However, this will not happen as Chiefs had a league game on Tuesday against AmaZulu and play SuperSport United on Saturday.

READ: Chiefs regroup to focus on PSL amid CAF confusion

There is confusion on when the game will be played.

On the other hand, Pirates – who are campaigning in the Confederation Cup – have not had challenges similar to Sundowns and Chiefs.

The Buccaneers take on Jwaneng Galaxy of Botswana in the return leg of their play-off round at Orlando Stadium on Sunday. They have a 3-0 advantage after winning the first leg in Gaborone last week.

Bucs coach Josef Zinnbauer warned his team against complacency.

“It was good to score away from home and to keep a clean sheet. The result is good but we have to be careful,” Zinnbauer said.

“They have nothing to lose and their coach said it is possible for them to score three against us at home as well. We have to focus now and not be casual about this game.”


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Gomolemo Motshwane  

Sport journalist

+27 11 713 9001
gomolemo.motshwane@citypress.co.za
www.citypress.co.za
69 Kingsway Rd, Auckland Park


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