YAOUNDE, Cameroon (AP) — Egypt’s team delayed its departure for the African Cup of Nations soccer tournament Friday after backup goalkeeper Mohamed Abou Gabal and goalkeeping coach Essam el-Hadary tested positive for the coronavirus.
Egypt is now set to fly from Cairo to Cameroon on Saturday without Abou Gabal and el-Hadary. Egypt is just the latest of many African Cup teams to have their preparations affected by the pandemic.
Abou Gabal and el-Hadary returned positive tests on Thursday, the Egyptian Football Association said, and will miss the tournament.
“Unprecedented times. The more the situation becomes difficult, the more we stay together & strong,” Egypt coach Carlos Queiroz wrote on Twitter.
Egypt, captained by Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah, starts its African Cup campaign against Nigeria in one of the games of the group stage on Tuesday.
Just about every one of the 24 teams competing at the monthlong African Cup, which opens Sunday, has been affected by the virus in one way or another in the buildup. Burkina Faso might not be able to field a full-strength team in the opening game against host Cameroon because of infections in its squad.