CAPE TOWN, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Football returned to Egypt on
Sunday against a backdrop of celebration and mourning but
continuing tensions elsewhere in North Africa mean the African Youth Championships is likely to be moved from Libya and the
planned re-start of leagues in Tunisia called off.
Zamalek, one of Egypt's top two clubs, wore black armbands
and held a minute's silence for victims of the violent
demonstrations which led to the toppling of long-standing
president Hosni Mubarak.
Zamalek beat Ulinzi of Kenya 1-0 in an African Champions
League match postponed from last month.
The game was watched by a capacity crowd of 22,000 at
Cairo's Military Stadium, strictly patrolled by soldiers.
Egypt's top clubs last week expressed the hope that an
incident-free match would prompt the authorities to give
permission for a re-start of the league in early March.
After Sunday's game Zamalek's coach felt that had been
achieved. "It was more important that we got life back to normal
than worrying about the victory," Hossam Hassan told Egyptian
But plans to resume league action in Tunisia were cancelled
on Saturday in a brief statement from the country's youth and
sports ministry, which said all matches were postponed for
Tunisia's prime minister Mohamed Ghannouchi resigned on
Sunday after violent weekend protests over his ties to the
toppled former leader Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, whose departure
precipitated a shutdown of all sports activity in the country.
The Cairo-based Confederation of African Football confirmed
on Sunday it would make a decision this week over the upcoming
African Youth Championships, scheduled to be hosted by Libya.
"It is obvious we will have to do something and the first
choice is likely a postponement," general-secretary Hicham El
Amrany told Reuters on Sunday.
Ghana and South Africa have been asked to consider taking
over as hosts for the eight-team tournament, which serves as the
continent's final qualifiers for the World U-20 Cup in Colombia
in July and August.
It was due to start in Tripoli and Benghazi on March 18.
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