The last time a South African club was meant to host a team from Angola in a continental fixture, the game was forfeited!
Orlando Pirates then qualified for the CAF Confederation Cup group stages play-off without kicking a ball following a decision by their opponents, Sagrada Esperance, to not make the trip as they cited rising Covid-19 cases as the reason.
Two months later, Kaizer Chiefs are preparing to welcome Petro de Luanda from Angola this Saturday – but only this time SA is recording a much lower number, with the virus being managed by the government.
It’s Amakhosi’s third CAF Champions League group stages fixture.
“We’ve had issues with clubs insisting that SA teams must get neutral venues. CAF has made it clear that all SA teams will play at home,” Dr Thulani Ngwenya, who is a CAF Covid-19 compliance officer, told the Siya crew.
“The standing rule is that if they don’t come they will lose the points. The game on Saturday goes ahead because the communication from officials and everyone involved indicates that it is all systems go.”
He reiterated the safety and health guidelines set out before every inter-club match.
“The protocols from CAF before a game still remain the same – you test 72-hours before you come into the country where you will be playing and then again 48-hours in the country that is hosting,” said Ngwenya.
“With us as SA having the new variant and a high number of cases (between December and January), it created a scare in a number of countries. But that was based on how the Covid-19 situation was being reported. So most countries took a decision based on what they were reading without doing a thorough research. In Angola, at the time, their government had prohibited any traveler coming from SA without going into quarantine, which would have been a mandatory 14-days.”
Having returned from Angola in January, where they beat Primero de Augusto to qualify for the group stages, Chiefs bemoaned the treatment they received in Luanda.
“Chiefs spoke to SAFA to speak to the Angola government for a waiver not to quarantine for that long, but they were strict once the team was there. They were scared of the new variant, and we even had soldiers monitoring the team’s movements. The worst part is that even the team that played Chiefs had to quarantine for seven days,” Ngwenya explained.
“With Pirates, the Angola team felt the challenges that come with having to return to their country are far more severe than having to honour the fixture, hence they forfeited. They would have had to quarantine and do nothing for 14-days.”
Chiefs have had to use the same squad in all competitions due to the FIFA ban, but they are targeting these players when it's lifted in July!