By Amaechi Agbo
Africa’s football governing body, The Confederation of Africa Football, CAF has announced the cancellation the second leg, second round CAF Confederation Cup match between Rivers United of Nigeria and Bloemfontein Celtic of South Africa.
The return leg match was scheduled to hold in Port Harcourt, Nigeria on Wednesday, January 6, 2021.
However, CAF announced Tuesday that the match has been called off.
CAF noted that the cancellation was sequel to Covid-19 concern raised by the Nigeria Football Federation which required the South Africa delegation to quarantine before the match on arrival to Nigeria.
“Regarding the match Rivers United (Nigeria) v Bloemfontein Celtic (South Africa): Nigerian Football Federation stated that the South African delegation cannot be exempted from the required quarantine,” CAF Said
Adding “The match shall not take place as scheduled. The case will be submitted to the competent body within CAF to decide on the appropriate course of action to follow.”
The Nigeria Football Federation, NFF had on Monday, January 4, 2021 had written CAF to intimate him of ned to reschedule the match due to the recent upsurge in Covid-19 cases in the country.
“I kindly refer you to the subject matter and regrettably inform you that, our request for a waiver for the Bloemfontein Celtic FC Contingent to Nigeria, for the CAF CC Match #70 has been declined by the Authorities.
“We had high hopes of getting the waiver before the end of working day today, but unfortunately the request was not approved.
“This must be as a result of the alarming surge in rising numbers of COVID-19 infections across the country and not targeted at any demographic group or country.
“In view of the foregoing, Nigeria Football Federation wish to Kindly request the General Secretary to consider the postponement of the game and a possible rescheduling of both the Date and Venue of the match, with the possibility of staging the match in any of the Nigeria neighbouring countries with a little less stringent COVID -19 protocols.
“Please understand that, the health policy as put in place by the Nigeria Health authority is aimed at controlling the spread of the already alarming number of COVID-19 infection in Nigeria and not aimed at South African Nationals. The relationship between these two countries remain cordial,” the letter said
It will be noted that South Africa is now the origin of a new variant Coronavirus, which is far more transmissible than the original disease.
Rivers United won the first leg in South Africa 3-0 a fortnight ago.
The overall winners of this match-up will advance to the final playoff leading to the group stage of the Confederation Cup.