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Abu Dhabi: Egypt’s Al Ahly Sporting Club has announced three of its players have tested positive for COVID-19 and are set to miss their Niger trip on Sunday, local media reported.

African champions Al Ahly SC will open their CAF Champions League title defence campaign with a clash against Niger’s AS SONIDEP in the first round.

Al Ahly had secured a historic Champions League title following a 2-1 victory over arch-rivals Zamalek just last November and are now set to start this season's tournament.

The first-leg set to be played on December 23 in Niger, a fortnight before the return-leg in Cairo.

However, the Reds will have to travel without three of their key players as well as head coach Pitso Mosimane.

The South African tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday and missed the club’s clash against Ghazl El Mahalla, with Cavin Johnson taking charge of the game.

Three players have followed with positive tests: midfielder Amr El Sulaya, winger Mohamed Magdi ‘Afsha’ and defender Rami Rabia.

Both El Sulya and Afsha are an integral part of the club’s starting XI, with both of them scoring in the CAF Champions League final against Zamalek.

Meanwhile, Rabia has also featured in the Champions League final as a late substitute just minutes after Afsha’s later winner.

COVID-19 struck Ahly’s squad last month ahead of the CAF Champions League final game against Zamalek, and the Red Devils missed the services of three of the team’s key players: influential Malian midfielder Aliou Dieng, veteran winger Walid Soliman and midfielder Saleh Gomaa.

Ahly enjoyed a dream campaign last term after winning their third treble in history, which included a victory over Zamalek in the African Champions League final, the Egyptian Premier League title and the Egypt Cup.

The Red Devils are in the driving seat of the Egyptian Premier League table with six points after claiming two victories so far this season.