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Coronavirus: Caf monitoring virus as key matches loom

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The Confederation of African Football (Caf) said it has no plans to take any immediate action over the continuing spread of the coronavirus on the continent.

Fears about the spread of the disease have prompted several forthcoming sporting events to either be cancelled, postponed or played behind closed doors.

“We are not extremely worried but remain vigilant with regards to future matches and tournaments such as the Champions League, Confederation Cup and African Nations Championship in Cameroon,” Caf it said in a statement.

The African Nations Championship (CHAN) is set to run between 4-25 April in Cameroon while a series of 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers are currently scheduled to take place at the end of this month.

On Friday March 6, Cameroon’s Minister of Public Health Malachie Manaouda said his government was also closely looking at the spread of the disease after the country’s first case was confirmed earlier in the day.

“At the moment we can’t say there is a threat to that event (CHAN),” he explained.

“There are a number of factors that could make the epidemic a threat to such an event .We have a confirmed case that is being properly taken care of,

“A case that is well isolated. So I don’t think it should repercussions (on the CHAN), so for the moment, there is no risk.”

Caf pointed out that “eight major African football countries have reported cases to date: Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Cameroon and South Africa” – all of which are due to host Nations Cup qualifiers in late March.

“If the situation requires and in agreement with the countries concerned, matches behind closed doors, postponements or even cancellations are envisaged,” added Caf.

“In the meantime, an advisory to the actors of the game is being promulgated in conformity with guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO).”

So far Morocco are the only African nation to say that all football matches in the country must be played behind closed doors, including this weekend’s Confederation Cup quarter-final second legs.

The country also recently cancelled a leg of the World Judo Tour, which had been set to feature over 500 competitors from nearly 100 countries in the capital Rabat.

Meanwhile, Tunisia has banned away supporters from attending this weekend’s African Champions League quarter-final second legs that it is hosting.

Reigning African champions Esperance host Zamalek of Egypt on Friday while on Saturday Etoile du Sahel welcome visitors Wydad Casablanca of Morocco.

Elsewhere, the start of the inaugural Basketball Africa League – which had been due to start in Senegal next week – has also been postponed.

SourceBBC NEWS

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