Zimbabwe: Zifa Set Up Bio-Bubble for Loga's Troops

Senior Sports Reporter

ZIFA are putting the final touches to their preparations for the Warriors' bio-bubble camp, set to begin this weekend in Harare, ahead of their participation at the COSAFA Cup.

The technical team, led by Zdravko Logarusic, are expected to name their 20-man travelling squad, and five reserve players, today.

Veteran goalkeeper, Washington Arubi, is one of the players who have been included in the squad.

Loga made the revelations on Wednesday night, during his maiden appearance, on the ZTV football managine programme, "Game Plan."

The gaffer said Arubi had charmed him with the way he performed, in the final months, of the South African Premiership.

Arubi's agent, Mike Ngobeni, said the 'keeper could be snapped by some of the South African giants.

"It will be premature for me to say exactly where he is going, you know, but of course there's some activity going on," Ngobeni told KickOff.com.

"Can you imagine what he has achieved last season?

"And, you know the vacuum of goalkeepers in PSL, already you know that of course there will be a little bit of activity going on there because you know he will be a free player soon.

"So, we are not rushing anything. He will be with the national team soon, and after that we will check what's best for him, you know.

"You never know, he might stay."

United States midfielder, Nyasha Dube, the son of veteran coach, Nation, has alo been drafted into the squad.

The players are expected to be tested for Covid-19, before the training camp, which gets underway on Monday.

"We are planning to have a bio-bubble camp, observing all the stipulated health protocols, as required by the authorities," said ZIFA spokesperson, Xolisani Gwesela.

"As you know, the tournament is going to be played in a bio-bubble environment, so we have to be fully prepared for that.

"Players will be tested, before they go into the camp, beginning this Sunday.

"They will be in camp, until the day of departure, so as to minimise contact with the outside world, and the risk of being infected by the virus.

"Of course, if there are any positive cases, the individuals will be notified and quarantined, as per the WHO health guidelines."

Loga has been involved, in a series of meetings with his technical team, as they try to come up with the best squad possible, for the tournament.

"We are going to use players, which we didn't see much, during the AFCON qualification," said Loga.

"We will give chances to some players, who are showing potential to become future stars, and those who didn't get many minutes, during qualification for AFCON.

"It's their chance to prove themselves.

"We are not going with the strongest squad, we didn't call 14 or 15 players top players, who are regulars for the national team.

"We are not talking about whether we win or not. We are using this tournament to try to make our squad stronger, for World Cup qualification, and AFCON tournament."

The COSAFA Cup tourney is set for Port Elizabeth, in South Africa, from July 7 to 18, at the Nelson Mandela Bay.

The Warriors, who are scheduled to leave for South Africa on July 8, will open their campaign against Mozambique, three days later, in Group C.

They will face Namibia, in their second match, before taking on guest nation, Senegal, on July 14.

There are three groups in this 12-team event.

Organisers have said the tournament will be played in a bio-bubble to protect the players and officials from the virus.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, all matches will be played without fans behind closed doors.

All matches will be live on SuperSport and streamed on COSAFA.TV, allowing fans from across the world access, to watch the action, from the safety of their homes.

SAFA's chief medical officer, Thulani Ngwenya, said all health protocols will be strictly observed.

"We are in the third wave, so it means our protocols must be strictly adhered to," said Ngwenya.

"Everyone that will be coming into the bio-secure environment will have to produce a negative Covid-19 certificate.

"That includes players, team officials, COSAFA staff and all volunteers.

"At the end of the group stages, everyone that remains, will have to have a second round of tests. There will be four rounds of testing in all.

"We cannot exceed 100 people at the venues, which includes the teams, broadcasters, medical personnel and everybody involved on match-day.

"We will make sure everyone is adhering to the protocols. People showing symptoms of Covid-19 will be isolated, and will be tested. "The isolation period is 10 days, and after that they can be tested again to come back into the bio-secure environment," said Ngwenya.

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