Bafana Bafana matches against Sao Tome called off

Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki. FILE PHOTO
Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki. FILE PHOTO
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix

Bafana Bafana’s two Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Sao Tome and Principe, and all the other Cameroon 2021 qualifiers this month, have been postponed by the Confederation of African Football (Caf) due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The South Africa versus Sao Tome qualifiers were to take place at FNB Stadium on Friday, March 27 and then the artificial turf of the Estadio Nacional de 12 Julho in Sao Tome on Tuesday, March 31.

With Caf having initially stated that, because cases in Africa remained so few, the round of qualifiers would continue, Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki had announced his 25-man squad in Johannesburg on Thursday.

However, Caf have reviewed this decision based partly on the number of foreign-based players – most of whom are sure to ply their trade with clubs in Europe – who will be honouring call-ups from their national squads.

A Caf statement released on Friday stated: “As Caf’s top priority remains the health and safety of our stakeholders (players, officials, sponsors, broadcasters, employees ... etc), we have been monitoring closely, together with our medical committee, the impact of the current coronavirus crisis ... ”

Accordingly, football’s continental ruling body noted that, “several players who are supposed to play the next Afcon qualifiers come from countries which have been severely affected by the virus (Europe, Asia)”.

Also that, “several African governments have taken strong restrictions on travels: lockdown, quarantine for people coming from countries affected by the virus”.

And it was noted that, “several clubs refuse now to release their players for the international matches”.

Caf concluded: “For the above reasons and after studying carefully the current situation, Caf has decided to postpone the Total Africa Cup of Nations 2021 qualifiers, scheduled from March 25 to 31 2020.”

Bafana are currently second in Group C from an away defeat against Ghana and home win against Sudan.

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