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Orlando Pirates handed free pass into CAF Confederation Cup playoffs

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Orlando Pirates’ CAF Confederation Cup first round opponents Sagrada Esperanca will not travel to South Africa for their second leg match.

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As a result, the Buccaneers will automatically progress to the playoff round of the tournament.

Orlando Pirates were set to host the Angolan outfit at the Orlando Stadium on Wednesday following their 1-0 away win in Luanda last month.

Esperanca, however, have released a statement announcing that they will not be honouring the fixture over fears of the Covid-19 second wave currently sweeping South Africa – and the world.

“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 authorisation, 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.”

ORLANDO PIRATES CONFIRMED MATCH IS OFF

The draw for the playoff round will be held on Sunday, 17 January, 2021.

Bloemfontein Celtic are the other South African side in this season’s CAF Confederation Cup. Siwelele lost their first round clash against Nigerian side Rivers United 2-0 at home.

The second leg will be held at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Nigeria on Wednesday, 6 January.

Kick-off is at 17:00 SA time.

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