South Africa Announces Football Return Date As NPFL Clubs Bicker Over Ending Season

South Africa says professional football in the country will resume on 8 August, the latest of the continent’s major leagues to announce a return to play in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Premier Soccer League officials say all matches will be played in a secure and restricted environment in Johannesburg and Pretoria.

Matches will be behind closed doors with fans unlikely to be allowed back into venues this year with the country yet to reach its peak of infections.

The situation is in sharp contrast to Nigeria where all professional football has been suspended since 18 March with no return date in sight.

While the League Management Company and majority of Nigeria Professional Football League clubs have agreed to end the season prematurely, clubs remain divided on the metric for deciding final league standings and continental representatives.

To make matters worse, the Presidential Task Force on the Covid-19 pandemic say there are no imminent plans to allow a return of domestic sports.

The season in South Africa will get back under way with the semi-finals of the domestic FA Cup competition, before the league resumes three days later on 11 August.

Kaizer Chiefs for whom Super Eagles number one Daniel Akpeyo plays, lead the title race by four points from second-placed Mamelodi Sundowns, who have a game in hand and nine matches still to play.

Morocco’s domestic league restarted on Monday, while Egyptian domestic football is set to resume on 6 August as African nations get to grips with how to continue sporting activities through the pandemic.