Nine Zimbabwe national soccer team players who are part of the African Nations Championship (CHAN) provisional squad have tested positive to COVID-19, the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) has said.
The team is preparing for the CHAN tournament to be hosted in Cameroon from January 16 to February 7, 2021.
In a statement, ZIFA communications manager Xolisani Gwesela said the nine tested positive after they had returned from the festive season break.
“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.
“In adherence to our Covid-19 medical protocols, all players and members of the technical team were tested on Monday (28 December 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.” said Gwesela
He said the players had been advised to inform their families and contacts with the association also informing Confederation of African Football (CAF).
“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, Gwesela said 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 latest development becomes the first Covid-19 case to hit the local football. The league had been suspended since March this year with the Government allowing resumption of the league under strict Covid-19 regulations.
However reports indicate that football stakeholders had set March 2021 as the date for resumption of local football.
Zimbabwe has been drawn in group A with hosts Cameroon together with Burkina Faso and Mali.