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Mamelodi Sundowns CAF CL clash postponed due to new COVID-19 variant

They are the second South African team after Kaizer Chiefs to be denied entry into another African country due to the new COVID-19 variant discovered by South African scientists.

This handout illustration image obtained February 27, 2020 courtesy of the National Institutes of Health taken with a scanning electron microscope shows SARS-CoV-2 (round blue objects) emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab, SARS-CoV-2, also known as 2019-nCoV, is the virus that causes COVID-19, the virus shown was isolated from a patient in the US. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Mamelodi Sundowns have confirmed that they will no longer be traveling to Algeria for their CAF Champions League match against CR Belouizdad after receiving communication from the Confederation of African Football (CAF) announcing that the fixture had been canceled due to further medical restrictions in Algeria.

The game was scheduled for 23 February.

They are the second South African team, after Kaizer Chiefs, to be denied entry into another African country due to the new COVID-19 strain discovered by South African scientists.

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.

Last week, the Moroccan Football Federation denied visas and a special permit for Chiefs to play their Champions League clash against Wydad Casablanca.

In a statement released on Thursday, Sundowns said they had made all the necessary arrangements and their required visas were made available to the Algerian Embassy on 12 February 2021.

The club had been on their way to OR Tambo International Airport to catch a flight to Doha for another connecting flight to Algeria when they received the confirmation from CAF.

“The case will be submitted to CAF Organizing Committee for Inter-Club Competitions to take the necessary decision, which will be communicated to all concerned parties in due time,” CAF’s competitions division advised.

The 2016 CAF Champions League winners said they were disappointed with the timing of the communication and the way it unfolded.

There will be discussions with CAF about the matter on 19 February.