The Warriors’ preparations for the African biennial centerpiece suffered a massive setback with several players on the team contracting the virus
Zimbabwe’s quest for an impressive performance at the 2021 Africa Nations Championship has taken a heavy blow, after nine of their 23-man squad tested positive for the coronavirus.
The Warriors, who will make their fifth appearance at the biennial football competition, had taken a short Christmas break and returned to camp on Monday.
Upon arrival, all players and technical staff were subjected to mandatory PCR testing for Covid-19. And on Tuesday, it was discovered that nine members of the team had returned positive tests.
The affected players have been isolated from the rest of the squad as coach Zdravko Logarusic now finds himself with an exhausted squad ahead of their departure for the host country, Cameroon.
The Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) confirmed this development in a statement released on Tuesday, indicating that it had notified relevant bodies such as the African Football Confederation (Caf), the World Health Organization (WHO) as well as Zimbabwe Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC).
“The Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) would like to inform the football fraternity and the nation as a whole that nine players who are part of Chan’s provisional squad have tested positive for Covid-19,” the statement read by CAF website.
“In accordance with our Covid-19 medical protocols, all players and members of the technical team were tested on Monday, December 28 when they returned from the festive break and all nine were found to be positive.
“All relevant actors have been notified and quarantined in accordance with the World Health Organization (WHO), dictates. Players were also asked to inform their families and contacts.
“Zifa also informed the Confederation of African Football (Caf), the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) and the City Health Department for further advice.”
Logarusic will need to be patient before training with his small squad, as the country’s football governing body has suspended 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 the camp until further notice,” the statement concluded.
Zimbabwe were placed in Group A alongside hosts Cameroon, Burkina Faso and Mali. The Warriors will face the Indomitable Lions at the opening of the tournament on January 16 at the Ahmadou Ahidjo stadium in Yaoundé.