from MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE, (CAJ News) – THE second coronavirus (COVID-19) wave has thrown into disarray Zimbabwe’s preparations for the upcoming African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Cameroon.
This after no less than nine players in the provisional squad for the tournament tested positive to the virus less than three weeks before the tournament.
It is the latest setback to the Warriors’ preparations, adding concerns around the players’ fitness as the domestic league ended a year ago.
The Zimbabwe Premiership failed to kick off as scheduled in March this year because of the outbreak of COVID-19.
The nine players tested positive after the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA), in adherence to COVID-19 medical protocols, all players and members of coach Zdravko Logarusic’s technical team were tested on Monday, upon their return from the festive break.
ZIFA stated that all the affected players, who it did not name, had been notified and quarantined in line with the dictates of the World Health Organisation (WHO).
“The players have also been advised to inform their families and contacts,” ZIFA stated.
“ZIFA has also informed the Confederation of African Football (CAF), Sport and Recreation Commission (SRC) and the City (Harare) Health Department for further guidance.”
Zimbabwe’s Warriors are scheduled to play the hosts, Cameroon, in the opening match of the CHAN at the Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo in the capital, Yaoundé on January 16.
The Zimbabwe Warriors are in Group A alongside Burkina Faso and Mali.
Coincidentally, the sixth edition of CHAN, a 16-team biennial tournament exclusively featuring players from the respective national leagues, was initially scheduled for April 2020 but moved to January/February 2021 because of COVID-19.
The virus that erupted in China last December was first reported in the continent in March this year.
At the time of going to press, Zimbabwe had recorded 13,325 cases with 359 while the world COVID-19 cases stood at 82.3 million with a whopping 1.7 million deaths and 58.3 million recoveries.
The government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa imposed a lockdown in April, effectively banning all sporting activities.
– CAJ News