Mohammed Yousry Murshid
Thursday 22 October 2020
Mystery lingers over the date of the match between Zamalek and the second leg of the African Champions League semi-final, which was scheduled to be held next Saturday at Cairo International Stadium.
A source told “Yalla Koura” earlier that the Confederation of African Football had decided to postpone the match between Zamalek and Al-Raja until the end of this October due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus among the Moroccan team players.
But the “BN Sports” news channel, the exclusive carrier of the tournament, confirmed in urgent news this morning, Thursday, that CAF had set the first of November as a date for the match, that is, five days before the final set for the sixth of November, which dismisses Mortada Mansour, President of Zamalek, who threatened not to play the final match. Because of breaching the principle of equal opportunity.
There remain 5 scenarios, and no fifth will be the way to end or ignite the crisis, namely:
1- Zamalek refused to resort to the International Sports Court
The weakest scenario, especially with Zamalek’s semi-settled chances to reach the final and the possibility of obtaining the “dream” title, is for Zamalek to decide not to play the final match in the event that his match with Raja is postponed five days before the final date.
Mortada Mansour, President of Zamalek, hinted at this scenario in the early hours of this morning, Thursday, not to contest the final if the date was not changed, saying: “I don’t play, I agreed to postpone the match due to the circumstance in which hope is going through, and I solved a problem for the African Union. The problem is if the final date is not modified, and if there is no equal opportunity, they will see who will play the final.
The consequences of this decision will transfer the conflict between El Kef and Zamalek to the International Sports Court. The latter will surely accuse the African Union of violating the principle of equal opportunity and will cite a similar case in the AFC Champions League when the AFC considered Al Hilal Saudi Arabia withdrawing from the Asian Champions League due to the spread of Covid-19 infection among its ranks and failed. In providing the required list of 13 players to play the match in Group Two in the AFC Champions League for the West.
2- Absolute approval
Absolutely agreeing to everything that CAF decides regarding the Zamalek match. Please only a weak scenario that occurs in this way, especially since according to the leaks issued by “BN Sports” channel, CAF chose the worst date for the representative of Egypt.
Moroccan reports indicated earlier that CAF is choosing between the days of the 30th and 31st of October and the first of November to hold the semi-finals, so that the African Union chooses a date just five days before the final.
3- Al-Ahly and Wydad postponed
The third scenario represents Zamalek’s point of view and guarantees the approval of the white club and its president, which is to postpone the Al-Ahly and Wydad match until the end of October, to be held 24 hours before his confrontation with Raja.
This solution guarantees the principle of equal opportunities according to Zamalek’s point of view and is consistent with CAF’s decision not to compromise the date of the final match because of the international agenda.
But this solution did not take any steps from CAF, as the Wydad team arrived in Egypt to face Al-Ahly on Friday at Cairo International Stadium in the second leg of the semi-final.
4- Postponement of the final
The proposed scenario is “in theory” CAF complying with Zamalek’s request and holding the semi-final match on the first of November, with the final match being postponed to give the white team the opportunity to catch a breath.
This scenario faces an “impossibility” of implementation in practice, as CAF is linked to the international agenda and the qualifiers for the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations.
5- Strategic deception
Mortada Mansour, President of Zamalek, described his refusal to compete in the African Super Cup last February in Qatar, and then to fight it and win the championship as a “strategic deception”, which is a proposed scenario.
It is certain that Zamalek will reject the new date for its match with Wydad, and that the final date will not be affected or the match between Al-Ahly and Wydad will be postponed, and then play the match after recording his objection.
The Moroccan Raja team had announced earlier that it was not possible to travel to Egypt due to the presence of 8 cases of Corona virus in the ranks of the team, and officially requested that the match be postponed before the number of infections rose to 15, according to a statement issued by the Moroccan club today, Thursday.
CAF intervened to discuss the crisis and decided to postpone the match after the two clubs agreed for a period of one week, adding an exceptional clause to allow the addition of up to 3 young players to the list of any team if the list contained less than 20 players.
It is worth noting that the match between Raja and Zamalek, which was held last Sunday at the Mohamed V boat in Casablanca, ended with the victory of the Egyptian representative with a clean goal scored by Moroccan Ashraf Bencharki.