NAIROBI, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's Gor Mahia FC have qualified for the play-off round of the CAF Confederations Cup after the second leg of their match against Ahly Merowe of Sudan was canceled on Sunday morning.
The record 20-time Kenyan league champions will advance to the group stages of the second-tier continental club football competition if they win their two-legged play-off tie against a yet-to-be-determined opponent.
Gor came from behind to win 3-1 in the opening leg of their second-round preliminary round knockout tie in Egypt a week ago for a healthy advantage going into the second leg that was scheduled for Nairobi on Sunday.
However, the Sudanese side had not arrived for the return leg and on Sunday morning, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) confirmed the fixture was off via a letter emailed to both clubs by the Manager of Interclub Competitions, Emad Shenouda.
"Reference the above-mentioned match, we would like to inform you that the Sudanese federation has communicated the withdrawal of the club Ahly Merowe from the competition.
"Accordingly, we hereby inform you that the match is cancelled and that Gor Mahia have been qualified to the Additional 2nd Preliminary round of the competition," CAF said in its letter.
The continental governing body requested Football Kenya Federation (FKF) to proceed with the payment of all financial dues to the officials who were already in Kenya.
A disciplinary process against Merowe is now expected to be launched with Shenouda saying a detailed decision will be communicated to all concerned parties in due course.
The cancellation brought an anti-climactic end to the match that had been mired in confusion since Thursday when Gor announced the government had allowed them to sell tickets to up to 10,000 fans.
A day later, the government confirmed fans would be allowed back to the stadiums for the first time since the onset of the global pandemic in March 2020, with venues allowed to let in up to two-thirds of the capacity subject to meeting coronavirus containment conditions.
However, later on Friday evening, FKF announced CAF had not sanctioned the return of fans to watch the game, igniting furious debate in domestic circles.
The final nail in the confusion came with the fixture being called off altogether on Sunday. Enditem