Moroccan opinion on Orlando Pirates versus Raja Casablanca away

Orlando Pirates players celebrate after taking the
Orlando Pirates players celebrate after taking the lead in Sunday's first leg tie at Orlando Stadium
Raja Casablanca scored a crucial away goal in the
Raja Casablanca scored a crucial away goal in the first leg

Raja Casablanca will face a complicated week ahead of their CAF Confederations Cup return leg match against Orlando Pirates on Sunday at the Stade Mohamed V which will boost the hopes of the visitors.

Upon their arrival back from South Africa, Raja have gone into mandatory quarantine as per the country’s regulations in relation to limiting the spread of the coronavirus.

The government of Morocco demands that residents returning from high-risk countries like South Africa undergo a 10-day quarantine in a hotel and this has been the case since February 18.

Raja's league match away at Mouloudia Club D’Oujda which was set for Thursday is now set to be postponed. 

"Firstly, playing in an empty stadium will give Orlando unlike if there were fans. If the fans were allowed, then Raja would pass easily and be already in the semi-finals but without fans football is different. Raja fans are intimidating so without them it will be easier for Orlando," says Nassim El Kerf, a Moroccan journalist based in Casablanca.

Sunday's game ended 1-1. 

"With the quality of the grass it will be good for Orlando because they are quick and good with the ball at their feet. The conditions will be suited to a good football game because we are headed to summer now so the quality of the field will be good and better than the one used on Sunday. So, it will be good for the Orlando players who are quick on the ball. Everything is still 50-50 in this case. I was surprised by the level of players that Orlando have, they have good players on the wings," says El Kerf.

Then there are matters related to the conditions set for people travelling back from South Africa.

"The government says returning residents must undergo a 10-day quarantine but in this case, it might be shorter depending on the results of the tests. The Raja team which travelled is meant to stay put in a hotel and do their training from there and this is meant to protect the people of Morocco. It might be less than 10 days, but it will be difficult," El Kerf explains.

"So, this is going to be complicated and will not be an easy game to play for Raja. Last time two Wydad players came back with the virus from South Africa after they played Kaizer Chiefs but luckily, they had sent a weakened team. To be honest this is all just complicated for Raja because they don’t know what the results of the tests will be, then they have a game that might be postponed and then having to play in an empty venue," he explains.

The one positive that Raja will be counting on is the likely return of their star player Abdelilah Hafidi.