CAF reschedules Confederation Cup tie between Rivers United, Bloemfontein Celtic

Nigeria’s Rivers United F.C. and South Africa’s Bloemfontein Celtic will play their rearranged Confederation Cup second preliminary round second leg fixture on the weekend of January 22-24, the South African Football Association (SAFA) has confirmed.

The game was initially due to be played on January 6 in Port Harcourt but did not take place because the South African side was unable to travel to Nigeria due to the strict coronavirus restrictions in place at the time in Nigeria.

The restrictions required Celtic to be quarantined for seven days upon arrival due to South Africa being designated a high-risk country, having the highest rate of infection in Africa.

“The decision to reschedule the match comes after SAFA reached out to CAF to seek guidance on the matter after Celtic’s initial appeal to the Nigerian FA and Nigerian government was turned down,” a statement on SAFA’s website read in part.

In addition to rescheduling the match, CAF’s Organizing Committee also laid out additional rules governing the rearranged fixture.

The match will be played in a neighbouring country to Nigeria with less stringent COVID-19 protocols regarding travellers coming from South Africa.

The Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) is also expected to decide and communicate the venue, date, kick-off-time and the approval of the neutral host association by January 12.

“Rivers United FC (is) to take charge of all organizational expenses in the neutral country as the host club and to ensure that the visiting team has the approval for entry in the neutral country,” the statement added.

Rivers United holds a 2-0 lead over Celtic following victory in the first leg in Bloemfontein last month with the winner of the tie advancing to the additional preliminary round to play another Nigerian side, Enyimba F.C.

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