Orlando Pirates’ CAF Confederation Cup first-round opponents Sagrada Esperanca have withdrawn from the South African leg of the fixture, citing coronavirus concerns.
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Pirates had won the second leg 1-0 in Luanda and the second leg was due to be played at Orlando Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.
But with the current surge in coronavirus cases in South Africa amid a devastating second wave of the pandemic, the Angolan outfit have now declared they will not travel to Mzansi over safety concerns of their club personnel.
“In the face of the emergence in South Africa of the new variant of the SARS-Cov-2 virus that led the Angolan government to privately suspend air, land and sea connections with that country,” read a statement from the club.
“Despite having obtained the authorization, by way of exception, from the Angolan government, the risks inherent in the team’s stay in South Africa would be very high for the health of the athletes, considering the magnitude of the contagious level and extreme lethality of the new version of the Covid-19 virus, which rages in that country.
“Having considered all issues, fundamentally the need to preserve the life of its athletes and that of a technical team, the club decided not to travel to South Africa, and have already communicated its position to the competent bodies, namely the FAF and CAF, for the purposes considered convenient.
“Segrada Esperanca renews its willingness and ambition to participate in all competitions under the aegis of CAF, but in perfect health security conditions, so it asks the understanding of the adept members for the position now taken.”
This essentially sees the Buccanneers gain a free pass to the play-off round of the competition, for which the draw will be held on 17 January 2021.