Zimbabwe: Tougher Requirements for Clubs From Hotspots

Senior Sports Reporter

THE Premier Soccer League medical committee have said clubs based in communities, under lockdown, will have to adhere to a tougher testing regime, when the Chibuku Super Cup returns, next week.

The tournament is expected to resume next Wednesday, according to the fixtures released by the PSL, yesterday.

The authorities have ordered all the clubs to test players, and officials for Covid-19, before they resume training.

A number of clubs, including Dynamos, Highlanders, Chicken Inn, Bulawayo Chiefs and Tenax, led the way by conducting the mandatory testing, yesterday.

The other clubs are expected to begin testing today.

The teams are expected to send their results to the PSL Medical Committee before they are given the approval, to return to training.

However, with some teams based in communities and towns which have been declared Covid-19 hotspots, there have been fears the league will face new challenges.

ZIFA and PSL medical committee chairperson, Edward Chagonda, yesterday said they will have to deal with the challenges on the ground.

ZPC Kariba, and the Group Two games being played in Bulawayo, where the cluster is headlined by giants Highlanders, are operating under localised lockdowns.

"There are teams coming from places and suburbs which have infections like the Bulawayo teams and ZPC Kariba," said Chagonda.

"It presents a higher risk, so we will test regularly.

"The same thing is happening elsewhere where there is Covid-19 and football is being played.

"They do bubbles, something which our clubs don't afford.

"So, we can only monitor by testing regularly. Today (yesterday), some teams tested, some will do so tomorrow (today) and then they train for one week, and then resume games next weekend.

"Traveling teams will have to comply with the Covid-19 requirements. They were cleared by the Government to resume football."

Chagonda said they have increased awareness, among the teams' medical teams, of the risk involved.

"We are likely to host a workshop, with team doctors, medics and security teams, sit down with everyone again, and talk to each other again.

"We work with team doctors but we also do random checking on clubs.

"We fully trust club medical personnel, as these are life-and-death matters and we are confident that they will do self-policing well, and adhere to all the health requirements."

However Chagonda said they continue to monitor the situation and should cases rise they will not hesitate to suspend the matches.

"International matches have, in some instances, been cancelled and, so, if cases rise rapidly, and there is too much exposure and it is no longer safe to continue, we will not hesitate to stop the matches.

"But, we can't wish for that, we want football to be played, and we want it played safely, too."

Match Day 6

Wednesday 30 June: ZPC Kariba v Harare City (National Sports Stadium, 11am); Yadah v CAPS United (NSS, 3pm).

Thursday 1 July: Dynamos v Herentals (NSS, 1pm).

Saturday 3 July: Triangle United v Ngezi Platinum Stars (Mandava, 11am), Black Rhinos v Tenax (Sakubva, 1pm), Chicken Inn v Bulawayo City (Barbourfields, 3pm), Harare City v CAPS United (National Sports Stadium, 1pm);

Sunday 4 July: FC Platinum v Whawha (Mandava, 11am), Highlanders v Bulawayo Chiefs (Barbourfields, 1pm), Cranborne Bullets v Manica Diamonds (Sakubva, 3pm), Herentals v ZPC Kariba (National Sports Stadium, 11am), Dynamos v Yadah (National Sports Stadium, 3pm).

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