Covid hits football

Covid hits football

MASERU – The coronavirus has hit local football and the Lesotho Football Association (LEFA) has ordered mandatory Covid-19 testing for all Vodacom Premier League and A Division teams to learn the extent of the infection.
Covid-19 cases continue to rise across the country and over the weekend several Premier League matches were postponed, as a result, all clubs now have to test their players before the next round of fixtures this weekend.

Those teams that do not test players will not be allowed to play, however, not showing up for a game may result in a non-compliance penalty from the league and points being deducted.
To allow testing to take place, this week’s midweek fixtures were postponed and clubs were expected to submit their data to LEFA after testing players.
The postponements have disrupted what is already a congested fixtures schedule.

However, LEFA expects clubs to use the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreements they were required to have with hospitals before the season resumed to get priority testing for players.
The deadline to submit the test results was yesterday and, at the time of writing, just three teams had tested players. Swallows had one positive case, Manonyane returned three positive tests while Kick4Life received a clean bill of health.

Speaking with thepost on Tuesday, LEFA secretary general Mokhosi Mohapi said as Covid-19 cases soar, there is a heightened concern coming from his office even though it expected this to happen.
He said LEFA observed the build-up to the current third wave and it is not only in Lesotho, as it started in South Africa. Mohapi said his office has been thinking about “what to do and when to do it.”

He said towards the end of the Vodacom Premier League’s first round late last month, discussions were held about what to do in the second round.
Mohapi said that, among many things discussed, his office was quite aware the league would get caught up in the flu season which has connotations of the virus infection on its own.
“One of the things we discussed with the teams is if you have one, two, three, or even more people contracting common colds do not just look at it as common cold and that it will just pass, consider the worst case so that if anything should happen we do not have the entire teams contaminated,” Mohapi said.

“I knew it would come, there were two teams that were complaining about having common colds in their clubs and staff, but I also knew it would escalate into now being critical as it is slowly becoming,” Mohapi said
“The statistical data is still coming in, for now I know three teams but I only know two teams that have submitted their test results. I wouldn’t even hesitate to mention them, but for now it’s Manonyane. The other one is Swallows, their president told me they had a case also in their team, so we are going to look at it from a broader perspective.”

Despite being ordered to undergo tests, clubs are saying they don’t have money for testing much to the association’s dismay as clubs in the top two tiers have all received the second batch of the Covid-19 Relief Fund.
LEFA says running a bio-bubble would be expensive and clubs were expected to use it to buy Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), Covid-19 management and other sporting related issues with the money they received.
“We gave them the money and we told them to prepare for the eventual position we are finding ourselves in now, but they didn’t,” Mohapi said.

Tlalane Phahla

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