Club had already paid for flights and accommodation for Wydad clash

Cancelled trip leaves Chiefs R1m poorer

Kaizer Chiefs players, seen here travelling to Angola for their previous CAF Champions League tie, had to abandon plans to fly to Morocco as they could not secure visas / Kaizer Chiefs
Kaizer Chiefs players, seen here travelling to Angola for their previous CAF Champions League tie, had to abandon plans to fly to Morocco as they could not secure visas / Kaizer Chiefs
Image: Kaizer Chiefs

Kaizer Chiefs incurred costs of about R1m as they prepared to travel to Morocco for their CAF Champions League group phase opener against Wydad, Sowetan has established.

The club will now await direction from the SA Football Association and CAF after it was confirmed yesterday that they would not be able to travel to Casablanca as their fixture with Wydad, initially set for tomorrow evening, had been shelved.

Morocco denied the Chiefs contingent visas due to Covid-19 fears but the belated announcement left Amakhosi reeling as they had already paid for flights and accommodation for three nights.

Though Chiefs' team manager Bobby Motaung would not confirm figures, he said the club would liaise with Safa to see if some of the money spent on the cancelled trip could be recouped.

“We are in communication with Safa and they will direct everything to CAF,” Motaung said before directing Sowetan to a club statement that confirmed they would no longer be travelling.

Sowetan has been told Chiefs had spent close to R1m. “We had to book accommodation and return flights for 40 people. Flights alone cost nearly R500,000,” said a Chiefs insider.

Another cost Chiefs had to incur related to Covid-19 tests with the entire squad and travelling support staff requiring negative test results to be allowed to fly out. “You add that and the fact that we had book more cars and drivers in Morocco, then you see we've spent quite a lot of money. And there's no guarantee that we'll recoup it because usually you're penalised for cancellation,” the insider added.

Morocco's football association, Royal Moroccan Football Federation (RMFF), confirmed only on Wednesday night that they had asked CAF to postpone or play the game in another country due to Covid-19 fears. 

“CAF have confirmed the Champions League match between Wydad and Chiefs will not be played as scheduled on Saturday [tomorrow]. In a one-liner correspondence sent to Safa last night [on Wednesday], CAF, through its competition division manager Ahmed Salem, said they will communicate the updated decision in due time,’’ read Safa’s statement.

Chiefs will now be hoping that CAF will find Wydad guilty of not granting an opponent permission to travel, which could result in the Moroccans forfeiting the match.

“In case a host team cannot organise a match or was not authorised by its government to receive another team, the host team shall be considered to have lost the match 2-0,” reads one of the regulations.

Meanwhile, reports in Ghana stated their FA had also written to CAF, asking to play Bafana Bafana in another country. The Black Stars of Ghana are set to travel to SA for a 2022 Afcon qualifier on March 21.

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