The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has postponed the CAF Confederation Cup qualifier playoff between Enyimba and Al Ittihad of Libya scheduled for Monastir, Tunisia.
The match scheduled to hold today, Sunday, was postponed Saturday evening due to Enyimba’s inability to reach the proposed match venue, reports Enyimba’s official website.
Enyimba FC ought to have reached the Stade Mustapha Ben Jannet in Monastir, Tunisia, since Friday but were denied passage due to the Tunisian government’s strict COVID-19 rules.
Apart from the difficulty Enyimba players faced transiting to Lagos – they travelled by road to Lagos from Aba – a bigger one occurred when they could not get a waiver to travel to Tunisia from Casablanca, Morocco, on the basis of stringent COVID-19 protocols.
According to Enyimba’s Friday letter sent by Felix Anyansi Agwu and published by the Guardian, “We write to officially notify you of the extremely difficult situations currently encountered by Enyimba FC for the CAF Confederation Cup playoff fixture against Al-Ittihad.
“The club’s contingent has been left completely stranded for over twenty-four hours at the Muhammed V International Airport in Casablanca, Morocco after the team was denied access to Tunisia by immigration authorities. The delegation departed Lagos on Thursday and was expected to transit in Casablanca before connecting Tunis.
“The journey, however, was awry as the team, upon arrival in Casablanca, were told that they would not be allowed into Tunisia except every member of the contingent provided the certificate of full COVID vaccination.”
Anyansi further said: “Efforts by the club’s management and the Nigerian Embassy in Tunisia to get a special waiver for the team have not yielded results, even in spite of the team providing proof of negative COVID-19 test results. The only other alternative given was to observe a 7-day quarantine upon arrival in Tunisia but with the game just two days away, that option becomes completely unrealistic.
“As a result, the team, which arrived at Casablanca at 9:30 am on Thursday, was forced to remain at the Muhammed V International Airport in Casablanca all through the day, without food and in the cold, as their Moroccan transit visa would not allow access to the city.
“It is worthy to note that after Enyimba were drawn against Al-Ittihad on October 26, the club swung into action immediately, and wrote a series of letters to both CAF and AlIttihad requesting the venue of the match. Unfortunately, none of the letters were responded to.”
The club proceeded to secure Libyan visas, only to be notified a few days ago that the game would be played in Tunisia. The club had to race against time to obtain Tunisian visas, only to be faced with this ugly situation, he wrote.
He continued: “This unfortunate turn of events has left the team in a severely disadvantaged deposition heading into the fixture, and failure to get it resolved as the soonest possible time would only create an uneven playing field for a game of this magnitude.
“We, therefore, wish to request, sir, that the CAF acts quickly on the situation to ensure that Enyimba is granted immediate access to Tunisia to ensure that the integrity of this competition is protected.”
In response to the letter, as published on the Enyimba website, CAF postponed the playoff between the People’s Elephant and their Northern counterpart.
“The match will not take place tomorrow, the 28th of November 2021, as scheduled and will be postponed.
“The new venue and date of the match will be announced soon after consultation with CAF Interclub Committee.
“Kindly note that the return leg will be played as scheduled on the 5th of December in Nigeria,” CAF wrote.
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