Ricky Zililo and Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporters
CASTLE Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL) matchday three games are in doubt with a shocking upsurge in Covid-19 cases with reports that one team has as many as 17 cases.
All but one of the four Bulawayo teams have a minimum of seven positive cases as fears grow that authorities might be forced to temporarily halt football matches and even sports in general in the country.
League matches resume this afternoon after a weekend break due to the Chibuku Super Cup final.
Bulawayo soccer giants Highlanders, Chicken Inn and Bulawayo City were forced to halt thieir training sessions last week after reportedly recording more than seven Covid-19 cases for players and technical staff.
Only Bulawayo Chiefs who take on Chibuku Super Cup champions FC Platinum at Luveve Stadium have had flawless preparations and their fixture is likely to go through.
According to standing PSL Covid-19 protocols, if a club records at least seven positive cases, their fixtures will be postponed.
Chicken Inn are billed to host Tenax CS FC on Saturday at Luveve Stadium, while City have to travel to Gweru for a date with Whawha on the same day.
Bosso are away to Manica Diamonds whose players and technical staff were also reportedly found to be positive.
City had the highest number of cases, with nine members of the Bulawayo City FC team admitted to Ekusileni Hospital last Tuesday afternoon.
The group was made up of eight players (names withheld) and a member of the technical staff.
City members who tested positive for Covid-19 are suspected to have contracted the virus at the camping house they went to in preparation for matchday two game against Manica Diamonds at Barbourfields Stadium. City lost the encounter 2-1, leaving them at the bottom of the table after two matches.
Bosso were rumoured to have had nine players testing positive, including four (names withheld) who went for a musical show held in the city a fortnight ago.
Chicken Inn are said to have had more than seven players and a member of the technical testing positive.
To plan for the weekend, the PSL directed all clubs to send Covid-19 tests results for their squads.
“We’re waiting for all the clubs to submit the list of their results,” said the PSL.
Should Covid-19 cases escalate within teams, this will threaten football activities as authorities might be forced to temporarily halt games before the Government issues a ban.
The league might be forced to cancel matches of teams that might have more personnel testing positive to Covid-19, as that will require that affected individuals go for at least 10 days of isolation.
To their credit, the PSL have ensured that clubs stick to strict Covid-19 preventive measures and protocols that are in line with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and local health authorities.
Other than masking up, the preventive measures include practising safe hygiene, regular testing of teams and officials, disinfecting training facilities as well as team buses. Players and officials have their temperatures checked before attending training.
The PSL ensured that no team trains without aCovid-19 compliance officers. — @ZililoR