Africa’s major football tournament will continue amid the coronavirus pandemic on July 27 in Morocco, with Tunisia, Egypt, and South Africa starting shortly thereafter.
Every national championship, apart from a small national championship in eastern Burundi Africa, ceased operations in mid-March when the Covid-19 virus took hold on the continent. But officials now believe football can return behind closed doors provided with stringent health protocols.
Morocco will be followed by Tunisia (August 2) and Egypt (August 6), while South Africa has not yet announced the date when Africa’s richest tournament will restart. AFP Sport details the situation in five of the top six leagues – the Democratic Republic of Congo canceled them in March instead of playing a waiting game.
Three-time African champion Raja Casablanca will start ‘catching up’ this Monday as they take the 100 km journey south to face Difaa El Jadidi. Raja in sixth place played less than five games against some of his Botola Pro 1 opponents due to commitments in CAF Champions League, where they reached the semi-finals.
Arch-rivals and defending champion Wydad Casablanca topped the table with 36 points, more than FUS Rabat and two on Mouloudia Oujda. Reda Hajhouj from the second half of Olympique Khouribga leads the Golden Boot race with 10 goals, one more than Ivorian Joseph Guede Gnadou from fifth place AS FAR.
Leading club Zamalek changed its mind after initially saying it would boycott the Egyptian Premier League when it restarts unless “a coronavirus cure is found”. Hazem Emam, who shared the captain’s armband with Shikabala, went so far as to say that he would raise the issue of reconnecting with state President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
But a change of heart saw Zamalek return to training and beat the Premier League uniform Smouha 5-1 in the warm-up match. Al Ahly led the tournament on 49 points in the middle of the 34-match season, followed by Al Mokawloon (33 points), Pyramids FC (32), and Zamalek (28).