AT LEAST four members of the Warriors are still stuck in Cameroon where they had travelled for the 2021 African Nations Championship (Chan) finals.
Although the team was eliminated from the tournament last month, the quartet could not travel back to Zimbabwe after they tested positive for Covid-19 last month.
The rest of the travelling party arrived back in Zimbabwe on January 27 after the Warriors were eliminated following defeats to Cameroon (1-0), Burkina Faso (3-1) and Mali (1-0). In order to be allowed to board the plane and entry into Zimbabwe, the four, who were asymptomatic, need to present negative Covid-19 PCR certificates due to the tough travelling restrictions imposed during the global pandemic.
The Daily News understands that at least two members of those left behind in Yaounde tested negative on Wednesday and could be back in Harare anytime soon depending on the availability of flights. The remaining two
squad members will have to wait a little bit longer in the Cameroonian capital after they returned positive tests.
Efforts to get a comment from Zifa spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela or Warriors team manager Wellington Mpandare proved futile by the time of going to press last night. However, last month, Zifa said the four members would stay in Yaounde until the time they had tested negative. “Zifa confirms that four members of the Chan squad tested positive for Covid-19 and remained quarantined in Cameroon,” the association said in a statement.
Even way before the Warriors departed for Yaounde, the team was plagued by a serious Covid-19 outbreak in their
training camp. At least 15 members of the squad tested positive of Covid-19 shortly after the Christmas break forcing the team to miss at least 11 days of training as they were in self isolation.
It was no surprise that the team failed to make an impact in Cameroon as they did not have much preparation time. The impact Covid-19 had on the team in the build-up and at the tournament was highlighted in the final group game against Mali.
Defender Qadr Amini was substituted after just two minutes in a bizarre sequence of events that should go down in football history.
“Zifa would like to categorically state that in line with Caf’s medical guidelines, there was a test that we were supposed to conduct on all players who had recently recovered from Covid- 19 called Cardiac MRI test. “Our medical team checked among radiology centres in the country and there was none in Zimbabwe conducting such a test.
“Zifa wrote to Caf to arrange and facilitate that the affected Chan players be tested in Cameroon. “All the affected players were tested upon arrival in Yaounde and the board was notified prior to the commencement of the tournament that the player was not fit to play due to heart complications.
“A decision was made not to field the player until the recovery of the player and subsequent retests. “The board was shocked to see the player in the starting line-up without the player having undergone another test. “The technical and medical teams were engaged and could not give a convincing explanation on why the player was included.
“The board then made a decision to order the technical team not to use the player until a retest had been conducted. “The decision was made in the interest of the player’s health,” Zifa said