Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
HIGHLANDERS FC has indefinitely cancelled its training programme following strict measures introduced by the Government on Monday as part of efforts to combat the spread of Covid-19.
Prior to announcement of additional restrictions by President Mnangagwa on Monday, Bosso had planned to take proactive steps, which included players and members of the technical team wearing protective masks during training sessions.
President Mnangagwa announced blanket ban on gatherings around recreational facilities, which include sports, bars, swimming pools, gyms and sporting activities until further notice.
Bosso had started sanitising their players’ hands before boarding the team bus and before starting training sessions from last week.
Kenneth Mhlophe, the Highlanders chairman said they had noted with concern the first confirmation of coronavirus death in Zimbabwe.
Journalist Zororo Makamba, son of renowned businessman and mobile network operator Telecel Zimbabwe founder James Makamba, died from the disease at Wilkins Hospital in Harare on Monday morning.
“Further to advice from the club medical doctor and the newly announced measures by the President of Zimbabwe regarding precautionary procedures to be followed by all citizens in the wake of the Covid-19, Highlanders FC has shelved all group training activities with immediate effect until further notice. All players and staff have been advised to adhere to strict social distancing protocols,” said Mhlophe yesterday.
The club also advised its players and staff to exercise “highest level of self-discipline” by avoiding public gatherings and unnecessary movements.
Unlike their city Premiership counterparts Bulawayo Chiefs, league returnees Bulawayo City FC and championship hopefuls Chicken Inn, who announced that they will be reviewing their “forced” breaks after the Easter holidays and gave players individual training programmes, Bosso players have been told to stay at home.
“This is a critical period and this virus is really deadly. What we’ve told players is to stay indoors,” said a Highlanders’ technical team official.
Bulawayo City chairman Jerry Sibanda revealed that his executive held an emergency meeting at the weekend and agreed to stop all training programmes and a review the situation after the Easter holidays.
“We’re aware of further steps taken by the Government to arrest spread of the virus and we will abide by that guidance,” said Sibanda.
Chicken Inn coach Joey Antipas said they have given players individual training programmes to follow.
“The guys are professionals and as professionals they have to stay fit by doing improvised trainings at their homes. There are exercises they can do to maintain their fitness levels and we expect them to follow the programmes so that when we resume training, everyone is almost at the same fitness level,” said Antipas. – @ZililoR