BY HENRY MHARA/TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
THE Premier Soccer League (PSL) says it has recorded a COVID-19 case among players, a development that threatens to disrupt the ongoing Chibuku Super Cup tournament as well as the resumption of topflight football next month.
It is the first time that a positive case has been reported since the start of the tournament, which is being used as a test case for the anticipated PSL 2021 kick-off scheduled for the first weekend of July.
PSL kept the name of the player and of the club under wraps. The player will now self-isolate for a period of 10 days as stipulated by World Health Organisation (WHO) regulations.
The league is hopeful that the recorded positive case will not disrupt the midweek and weekend Chibuku Super Cup matches that will be held across the country.
In a statement yesterday, the PSL said: “… following the latest round of COVID-19 testing for match day two conducted, one player tested positive for COVID-19. The player was not part of match day activities. The player will now observe a period of self-isolation in accordance with the PSL, Zifa, SRC, Ministry of Health and Child Welfare and WHO guidelines and protocols.
“The PSL remains in contact with the relevant health authorities in implementation of the COVID-19 protocols to enable our fixtures to be played as scheduled. We urge the clubs and all our stakeholders to strictly adhere to the COVID-19 protocols to prevent the spread of the virus. The league will not be specific details on the club or individual. We wish the player speedy recovery.”
The Chibuku Super Cup games are taking place across four venues around the country in Harare, Bulawayo, Zvishavane and Mutare.
Players are coming from their homes after clubs said they could afford the costs associated with a secure bio-bubble.
Government earlier this year allowed PSL football to return under strict observance of COVID-19 protocols. Local football was put on ice in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, but it has since been allowed to return this year in a phased format starting with the top flight league.
Meanwhile, Dynamos’ big victory over Yadah on Saturday must have been an ominous sign to rivals that they mean business this year.
Having lanched the campaign with a goalless draw against Herentals in the opening match of the competition, few expected the Harare giants to emphatically beat Yadah 4-0 at the weekend.
The victory opened a portal in their bid to win the prestigious knockout tournament whose prize is a ticket to the Caf Confederation Cup tournament.
Since making its return some seven years ago, the lucrative trophy has been stubbornly elusive to Dynamos.
New recruit Shadreck Nyahwa — one of the six changes made by coach Tonderai Ndiraya to his starting line-up — provided the inspiration with a debut brace including a fabulous goal scored from the centre line.
Godknows Murwira also weighed in with a spectacular volley while Cameroonian Albert Eonde also found his name onto the scoresheet.
Murwira and Nyahwa missed the first match due to registration problems.
Rivals Caps United and Highlanders, however, were restricted to draws in their respective assignments. It was Caps United though who needed a win badly having managed just a point in their match against Yadah in the opening match which ended in a 2-2 draw but they had to come from behind to force a share of the spoils, courtesy of a late strike by Ismael Wadi.
It was Wadi’s third goal in the tournament after he scored a brace on his debut last week.
After gaining maximum points in a laboured 1-0 victory over Bulawayo Chiefs in their first match, Highlanders shared the spoils with Chicken Inn in a 0-0 draw and still fancy their chances of defending the Chibuku Super Cup trophy.
FC Platinum and Ngezi Platinum maintained their perfect start to the competition with the Zvishavane side overcoming Triangle 2-1 while Ngezi Platinum walloped Whawha 3-0. The performances of both clubs who meet in the next round of matches, suggest they are leaving nothing to chance in their bid to win the biggest knockout football tournament in the country.
Tomorrow: Harare City v Yadah, Herentals v Caps United
Thursday: Whawha v Triangle, Dynamos v ZPC Kariba, FC Platinum v Ngezi Platinum
Saturday: Harare City v Herentals, Manica Diamonds v Black Rhinos, Bulawayo Chiefs v Chicken inn
Sunday: Yadah v ZPC Kariba, Cranborne Bullets v Tenax, Highlanders v Bulawayo City, Caps United v Dynamos
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