By Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE’S preparations for the African Nations Championship (CHAN) finals received a boost after 15 players and officials who tested positive for Covid-19 two weeks ago managed to recover following another round of tests on Friday.
The Warriors’ preparations for the continental tournament for home-based players were brought to a halt after nine players and six officials, including coach Zdravko Logarusic, all tested positive on return to camp from the Christmas break on December 28.
ZIFA was forced to cancel the team’s training session as the affected members went into isolation.
The local football mother body however revealed on Saturday that only one player is yet to recover, and preparations have resumed ahead of the team’s departure for the tournament on Wednesday.
“The Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) is delighted to inform the football fraternity and the nation at large that the fifteen (15) members of the Warriors’ African Nations Championship (Chan) team that had previously tested positive for Covid-19 have all tested negative save for one (1) in the re-tests conducted on January 8 2021,” ZIFA said in a statement.
“The player that re-tested positive for Covid-19 will continue self-isolating while in camp, awaiting another test on January 12 2021. The technical team and the 22 players declared covid-19 free will now resume training ahead of their departure for Cameroon on the January 13 2021.”
The Warriors are set undergo further tests before their departure for Cameroon on Wednesday.
Zimbabwe, who have been drawn in Group A with Cameroon, Burkina Faso and Mali will play the tournament’s opening tie against the hosts on Saturday.
In a bid to ensure that there are no further disruptions to the team’s preparations due to Covid-19, ZIFA said they will employ stricter conditions to protect the team from new infections.
The Warriors technical team has also placed 10 players namely Devon Chafa, Nqobizita Masuku, Tymon Mvula, Diro Nyenye, Frank Makarati, Ishmael Wadi, Tichaona Chipunza, Thomas Chideu, Phineas Bamusi and Jeansmith Mutudza on standby in case some players failed to recover.
“ZIFA would like to assure the public that we will adhere to CAF, FIFA and SRC medical protocols before, during and after the tournament in order to mitigate the spread of the virus. The Association would like to thank all stakeholders for their patience and support during the dark period which severely hampered our team’s preparations. We are confident that every member of the team will be motivated by these new progressive developments to be victorious on the pitch. All stakeholders are reminded that Warriors’ training sessions are restricted to only authorised personnel,” ZIFA said.
Warriors Chan squad
Goalkeepers: Ariel Sibanda (Highlanders), Simba Chinani (Dynamos), Nelson Chadya (Ngezi)
Defenders: Peter Muduwa (Highlanders), Partson Jaure (Dynamos), Tafadzwa Jaravani (CAPS Utd), Ian Nekati (Chicken Inn), Qadr Amini (Ngezi), Carlos Mavhurume (CAPS Utd), Pawell Govere (Golden Eagles), Andrew Mbeba (Highlanders), Talent Chamboko (Manica Diamonds)
Midfielders: Richard Hachiro (CAPS Utd), Ronald Chitiyo (CAPS Utd), Gabriel Nyahwa (Bulawayo Chiefs), Wellington Taderera (Ngezi), Leeroy Mavunga (CAPS Utd), Tatenda Tavengwa (Harare City), King Nadolo (Dynamos), Denver Mukamba (Ngezi)
Strikers: Obriel Chirinda (Chicken Inn), Tawanda Nyamandwe (Manica Diamonds), Farawo Matare (Bulawayo Chiefs)