Bidvest Wits confirm Egypt trip to face Smouha in Confederation Cup despite concerns

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Wits face off with Smouha at the Borg el-Arab Stadium near Alexandria where a blast killed at least 17 in front of a church on Sunday in a series of attacks on Egypt’s Christian minority.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant [known as ISIS] has claimed responsibility for the attacks – the other happened in the town of Tanta and left 27 dead – which has prompted Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to order troops to be deployed across the country to help secure ‘vital facilities’ with a three-month state of emergency also to be imposed.

“We have no hesitation in going there [Egypt] but we are concerned,” Jose Ferreira, the Wits CEO, tells snl24.com/kickoff.

Following a goalless draw in the first leg on Saturday afternoon, Wits leave for Egypt on Wednesday travelling via Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Upon arrival in Cairo they will then take a two-and-a-half hour bus trip to the coastal city of Alexandria where they will play on Saturday evening.

“We are well aware of what is happening in Egypt. At this point no communication has come from CAF but what I know is that there has already been an immense amount of work from the South African Embassy in Cairo and the Consulate in Alexandria to ensure that we are safe. They have made all efforts to ensure that every single aspect of our stay there is taken care of. The Egyptian authorities have also been helpful. We are concerned about what has been happening but all that we can do is seek assurances that security is taken care of,” explains Ferreira.

Luckily for Wits their opponents this weekend don’t command the kind of following that their previous continental opponents from the same country Al Ahly enjoy.

The Clever Boys were in Egypt last month were they played Al Ahly in the Champions League – the competition from which they were then relegated from into the second-tier Confederation Cup.

Meanwhile, Wits host Golden Arrows at Bidvest Stadium this evening (19h30) keen to keep their title ambitions alive and well aware that a win will take them top of the standings until at least Thursday.

Leaders Cape Town City will only be in action on Thursday heading off to Moruleng Stadium where Platinum Stars will stand in waiting.