The CAF have entered into contact with ZIFA to enquire about the Covid-19 crisis in the Warriors’ camp. The Confederation of African Football are expecting explanation over the additional lockdown measures ahead of the national football team’s participation at this year’s Africa Nations Championship in Cameroon.
The Warriors’ camp was plunged into crisis last week after nine players and five officials returned positive tests.
This forced the suspension of the preparations for the CHAN tournament. Competition to kick off in Cameroon in two weeks’ time.
Yesterday, ZIFA spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela said CAF are also anxious to hear from the association after sports activities were put on hold at the weekend by Government. This in response to the spiralling coronavirus cases.
“CAF have written to us enquiring our position with regards to the COVID-19 cases and the additional lockdown measures that were announced at the weekend.
“We are yet to give a concrete response. Because we can only be able to know the next step once we get the response from SRC. We have sent our request to resume preparations as well as participate at the tournament. And it’s being considered.
“But at the moment we are grounded. Our players are still in quarantine. And they will only be retested after 10 days (on Thursday) to see if there are any recoveries. We also have another group of players on standby.
“But we have proposed to CAF that the tournament be postponed to safeguard the health of the players. Since Covid-19 cases have been on the rise across the continent.” Said Gwesela.
The CHAN tournament is expected to kick off in Cameroon on 16th January. Zimbabwe will take on the hosts in the opening match. They will also play Burkina Faso and Mali in Group A.
But almost half the Warriors team is down with coronavirus. And they have been self-isolating since last week. The rest of the team has remained in quarantine. And there were fears more cases could be detected.
ZIFA were yesterday expected to get results for the repeat tests of those players and officials that had tested negative.
The association have tentatively set the departure date for this Sunday. But this will be subject to Government approval.
“The good news is that Government is working on ZIFA’s request to allow the Warriors to resume preparations and travel to Cameroon.”
The Sports and Recreation Commission acting director-general Sebastian Garikai yesterday said ZIFA’s request was being worked on.
“We have received the letter from ZIFA. And we are working on it. It’s important to note that the approval is not automatic. It is a process which starts from our office.
“We make recommendations and then forward the request to the Covid-19 board committee.
“The committee will also look at it and then forward to the Minister who will then come up with a decision. Obviously in consultation with other stakeholders like the Ministry of Health and Child Care and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“The aim is to safeguard the health of our athletes. Since we are in the middle of a pandemic. But by tomorrow we should be in a position to tell.” Said Garikai.
In a previous interview with The Herald, Garikai said they shall conduct extensive environmental and operation scans for every application to conduct any sporting or recreation activity in the wake of rising Covid-19 cases.