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African Nations Championship

Nine Zimbabwe Chan players test positive for coronavirus

5:02 PM WAT 29/12/2020
Zimbabwe team during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Finals match between Egypt .
The Warriors’ preparations for the biennial African showpiece has suffered a massive setback with several players in the squad contracting the virus

Zimbabwe’s quest of an impressive showing during the 2021 African Nations Championship have been dealt a huge blow, after nine of their 23-man squad tested positive for coronavirus.

The Warriors, who are will be making their fifth appearance at the biennial football competition, had taken a short Christmas break and returned to camp on Monday.

On arrival, all players and technical staff were subjected to the compulsory Covid-19 PCR tests. And on Tuesday, it was discovered that nine of the team returned positive tests.

The affected players have been isolated from the rest of the squad, with coach Zdravko Logarusic now left with a depleted side ahead of their departure for host nation, Cameroon.

The Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) confirmed this development in a statement released on Tuesday, which stated that they have notified the relevant bodies like the Confederation of African Football (Caf), World Health Organisation (WHO) as well as Zimbabwe’s Sport and Recreation Commission (SRC).

“The Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) would like to inform the football fraternity and the nation at large that nine players who are part of the Chan provisional squad have tested positive to Covid-19,” the statement reads per Caf website.

“In adherence to our Covid-19 medical protocols, all players and members of the technical team were tested on Monday, December 28 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.

“Zifa has also informed the Confederation of African Football (Caf), Sport and Recreation Commission (SRC) and the City Health Department for further guidance.”

Logarusic will need to exercise patience before training with his reduced team as the country’s football ruling body have placed on hold all training, pending further consultations with the country’s health authorities.

“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 statement concluded.

Zimbabwe have been zoned in Group A alongside hosts Cameroon, Burkina Faso and Mali. The Warriors face the Indomitable Lions in the tournament opener on January 16 inside Yaounde’s Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo.