BY Kevin Mapasure
The Warriors preparations for the African Nations Championship (Chan) have encountered a major setback after nine of the 23 players in the final squad tested positive for COVID- 19.
Upon their return to camp on Monday the players and officials were tested for the virus ahead of resumption of training with results showing that nine players had tested positive.
The players that tested positive have been isolated, while those that tested negative stayed in camp but training has been suspended as Zifa consults stakeholders that include the government.
In a statement released yesterday by communications manager Xolisani Gwesela, Zifa confirmed that they had since informed Caf and the Sports and Recreation Commission.
“The Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) would like to inform the football fraternity and the nation at large that nine (9) players who are part of the African Nations Championship (Chan) provisional squad have tested positive to COVID-19,” the statement read.
“In adherence to our COVID-19 medical protocols, all players and members of the technical team were tested on Monday (December 28 2020) upon their return from festive break and the nine were ruled to have tested positive. All the affected players have been notified and quarantined in line with World Health organisation (WHO) dictates. The players have also been advised to inform their families and contacts. The Zimbabwe Football Association has also informed the Confederation of African Football (Caf), Sport and Recreation Commission (SRC) and the City Health Department for further guidance. Meanwhile, Zifa has temporarily suspended all training sessions for the Chan team pending consultation with other stakeholders, but the team remains in camp until further notice.”
The Chan tournament kicks off on January 16 with Zimbabwe taking on hosts Cameroon.
Loga had hoped to have two friendly matches against Premier Soccer League sides before they travelled to Cameroon, after they failed to organise international friendlies.
Already, the coach was worried about the team’s fitness levels ahead of the tournament considering that the players have not played competitively all year.
The domestic topflight league failed to take off due to the pandemic and it is hoped that it will return in March.
However, the surge in infections has also cast doubts on the resumption in March considering that football, unlike other sporting disciplines cannot afford the bio-bubble concept.
A tournament comprising topflight league teams had been pencilled for December, but it failed to take off because of lack of funding for the bio-bubble.
Warriors Chan squad
Goalkeepers: Ariel Sibanda (Highlanders), Simba Chinani (Dynamos), Nelson Chadya (Ngezi)
Defenders: Peter Muduwa (Highlanders), Partson Jaure (Dynamos), Tafadzwa Jaravani (CAPS Utd), Ian Nekati (Chicken Inn), Qadr Amini (Ngezi), Carlos Mavhurume (CAPS Utd), Pawell Govere (Golden Eagles), Andrew Mbeba (Highlanders), Talent Chamboko (Manica Diamonds)
Midfielders: Richard Hachiro (CAPS Utd), Ronald Chitiyo (CAPS Utd), Gabriel Nyahwa (Bulawayo Chiefs), Wellington Taderera (Ngezi), Leeroy Mavunga (CAPS Utd), Tatenda Tavengwa (Harare City), King Nadolo (Dynamos), Denver Mukamba (Ngezi)
Strikers: Obriel Chirinda (Chicken Inn), Tawanda Nyamandwe (Manica Diamonds), Farawo Matare (Bulawayo Chiefs)
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