Two South African footballers have become the first athletes in the Olympic Village to test positive for Covid-19 with only five days remaining to the start of the Olympic Games.
The affected players - Thabiso Monyane and Kamohelo Mahlatsi are members of the U23 football team – and have returned positive results alongside the team’s video analyst Mario Masha.
A statement from Safa has confirmed the affected have been put in isolation while the rest of the squad members, who tested negative twice, are following closely all the recommendations of the local health authorities.
“Three members from Team SA’s men’s under-23 football team have produced positive tests for Covid-19 and are in isolation in the Tokyo 2020 isolation facility,” read part of the statement from Safa.
“The three members are players Thabiso Monyane and Kamohelo Mahlatsi and video analyst Mario Masha, who produced a positive result in the latest round of daily sputum [saliva] testing.
“The rest of the team has already tested negative twice and is following closely all the recommendations of the local health authorities.
“Team SA officials and management have followed all relevant Olympic Playbook rules, protocols, and procedures throughout the pre-Games and Games arrival routines.
“They have been tested on arrival, daily at the Olympic Village and complied with all the mandatory measures implemented to ensure the safety of the Games participants and the people of Japan, including keeping physical distancing and wearing masks at all times.”
The statement continued: “A fourth Team SA member, Sevens rugby coach Neil Powell, has also produced a positive result and has been admitted to an isolation facility in Kagashimo where the Sevens squad are currently in at a pre-Games training camp.”
Explaining what happened, South Africa Chief Medical Officer Dr. Phatho Zondi stated: “Every member of Team South Africa required full medical clearance as eligibility criteria.
"In addition, they were encouraged to isolate for two weeks pre-departure, monitor health daily, report any symptoms, and produce two negative nasopharyngeal PCR tests taken within 96 hours of departure, as per Tokyo 2020 requirements.
“The timing of the positive results suggests that the PCR test in these individuals was done during the incubation period of the infection, which is how they could be negative in South Africa and then positive in Japan.
“They are now in isolation where they will continue to be monitored and will not be allowed to train or have any physical contact with the rest of the squad.”
SA-U23 squad for Olympics: Ronwen Williams, Mondli Mpoto, Sifiso Mlungwana, Tercious Malepe, Katlego Mohamme, Luke Fleurs, Sibusiso Mabiliso, Abbubaker Mobara, Thabiso Monyane, Tebogo Mokoena, Thabo Cele, Nkosingiphile Ngcobo, Sipho Mbule, Goodman Mosele, Kamohelo Mahlatsi, Fagrie Lakay, Luther Singh, Evidence Makgopa, Lyle Foster, and Kabamelo Kodisang.