Asante Kotoko learn Caf Confederation Cup opponents amid Champions League coronavirus appeal

The Porcupine Warriors have been paired against Algerian outfit Setif despite their ongoing protest about their elimination from the Champions League

Ghanaian side Asante Kotoko have been pitted against Algerian side ES Setif in the Caf Confederation Cup play-off round.

The draw was conducted on Friday.

The development comes amid the Ghanaians’ contesting their elimination from the Caf Champions League to the Confederation Cup under controversial circumstances.

The Porcupine Warriors will host the first leg on February 14 before travelling to Setif for the return leg after a week.

Kotoko were dumped out of the Champions League under controversial circumstances on Wednesday.

Having lost 1-0 at home to Sudanese side Al-Hilal Omdurman in the first leg, the Porcupine Warriors saw the reverse fixture cancelled after a kick-off delay. The home side was handed qualification to the next round as Kotoko were declared to have presented an inadequate number of players for the match.

Just before kick-off, Kotoko’s team became depleted after seven players were confirmed positive for the coronavirus, reducing their squad size below Caf’s stipulated 15-player number.

Kotoko are, however, contesting the positive coronavirus tests, declaring the results were falsified by Hilal. Media reports say the Ghanaians are considering heading to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) should they fail in their Caf appeal.

As per Caf regulations, a club unable to present enough players for a game have to forfeit the match and are declared losers.

This rule sees Kotoko eliminated from the Champions League unless they are able to win their appeal before the start of the group stage.

Also, per Caf rules, a team which loses its Champions League first round fixture is demoted to the Confederation Cup.

“Four officials and seven players are alleged to have tested positive for Covid after the results of the tests came in,” Kotoko posted in an update amid Wednesday’s controversy.

“The Covid results were delivered by known officials of Al Hilal but suspiciously enough, the positive results clearly look different from the negative results.

“The team [Kotoko] has made an official complaint to the match commissioner as the Covid results have been tampered with.”

Last season, Kotoko were eliminated in the Caf Champions League in the first round by Tunisian side Etoile du Sahel. After dropping to the Confederation Cup, they were beaten by San Pedro of Cote d’Ivoire in the play-offs.