With a few weeks remaining before Napsa Stars take on Gor Mahia in the playoffs of the Caf Confederation Cup, coach Mohamed Fathi has tested positive for Covid-19.
The Zambian Pensioners will face the Kenyan champions in the play-offs of the competition, with the first leg set for Nairobi on February 14 and the return leg planned for February 21 in Lusaka.
However, Napsa have now confirmed their coach Fathi has contracted the Covid-19 virus after routine tests conducted before their week 13 FAZ Super League match against Red Arrows (played on Saturday), turned positive.
“Our coach Mohamed Fathi has tested positive for Covid-19,” the club said in a statement signed by media officer Gwen Chipasula. “This was after the team’s routine Covid-19 tests which were conducted before the week 13 Super League game played against Red Arrows FC on Saturday.
“The coach is currently in isolation at home following health guidelines set by the World Health Organization and the Ministry of Health.
“Coach Fathi missed Saturday’s game and will also miss Wednesday’s clash against Forest Rangers.”
Napsa through their technical director Honor Janza also confirmed the news by stating: “We are sad to announce that our coach has tested positive for Covid-19. We do our tests every 14 days but after the coach presented some symptoms, it led to the whole team doing another test earlier than usual.”
Fathi has also moved to advise his players to stay focused while he isolates for the mandatory 14 days.
“I just want to advise my players and everyone out there to keep safe and always observe the guidelines given to us by the Ministry of Health,” Fathi said as quoted by the club website.
In Fathi’s absence, assistant coach Geoffrey Hamakwendwa will handle the team.
Gor Mahia were relegated to the Confederation Cup after they were tossed out by CR Belouizdad in the first round of the Caf Champions League, losing the first leg 6-0 in Algeria before they went down 2-1 at home in the return leg.
Before facing the Algerian champions, Gor Mahia had to navigate past APR of Rwanda in the preliminary round. On the other hand, Napsa Stars reached the second preliminary phase after a 1-1 draw against UD Songo of Mozambique.
The Pensioners advanced courtesy of the away goals rule after Emanuel Mayuka equalised for them in the 74th minute in Beira, having gone behind in the first half of the second leg.