CAF offside in Al Ahly venue swap

Man of the match Themba Zwane of Sundowns tackled by Ahmed Fathy of Al Ahly on Saturday.
Man of the match Themba Zwane of Sundowns tackled by Ahmed Fathy of Al Ahly on Saturday.
Image: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

Desperate times call for desperate measures for Al Ahly, who have resorted to all sorts of dirty tricks to frustrate Mamelodi Sundowns, without any consequences from CAF.

Ahly are playing dirty as they are desperate to overturn a heavy 5-0 defeat they suffered at the hands of Sundowns in the first leg of the CAF Champions League quarterfinal in Atteridgeville on Saturday.

CAF allowed the Egyptian giants to irregularly move the second leg from the Egyptian Army Stadium in Suez to the Borg El Arab Stadium in Alexandria, 350km from the capital Cairo.

In approving the venue switch, CAF, who seem to have different rules for different teams, has broken its own rules that it expects all the clubs to respect.

CAF regulations state clearly that the venue and date of any continental match is set 10 days before the kickoff day and cannot be changed thereafter. The rules also state that the opposing team should also be notified at least 10 days before the match.

After this notification, neither the kickoff time, the day of the match nor the match venue can be changed except if there is an agreement communicated to CAF between the two teams.

But Sundowns were never informed of or agreed to the venue switch. They left for Cairo yesterday under the impression that the match would be played at the original venue.

They even made hotel bookings in Cairo and now they have to make alternative arrangements and this will affect their preparations for the match.

This is exactly what Ahly want.

Another CAF rule that has been broken is that the venue must be less than 200km from the landing airport. The Borg El Arab Stadium is 244km from the Cairo airport.

Are we surprised by CAF's abhorrent decision? No! For years CAF has been accused of acting favourably towards north African teams and the latest approval will add credence to those rumours.

CAF headquarters are in Cairo, by the way, so Ahly can do as they please in the Egyptian capital.

Downs are seeking an explanation from CAF and we hope this will not be a futile exercise. Safa should intervene to ensure justice for Sundowns.

We're positive that their mental resolve will see them overcome the obstacles in Egypt.

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