TWO days before the crucial Warriors match against African champions Algeria, eight men nervously walked into a doctor’s office for a Covid-19 test.
For some of the men, taking the Covid-19 test could be aptly described as a nerve wrecking experience.
After all it was their first time going through the test that determines whether one’s body is a host to the coronavirus or not through a medical process known as polymerise chain reaction (PCR) test.
The reason for the hurried PCR test was because the eight gentlemen had a task awaiting them on a Monday afternoon at the giant National Sports Stadium where the Warriors were to face Algeria.
Their task was to assume the role of ball boys; well, in this instance ‘ball men’.
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic ravaging communities across the continent, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) had ordered older people for tasks such as that of ball boys.
Warriors supporter Chris Romario Musekiwa, who was part of the ball men team, said their first port of call was an appointment with medical doctors Edward Chagonda and Nicholas Munyonga.
“We got a call from Zifa that they wanted us to be ball men at the National Sports Stadium for the Warriors game against Algeria but only on condition that we tested negative for Covid-19.
“Of course, we were nervous during the tests but we had to remain focused on the task at hand. Our group included football supporters and qualified referees and we were given a crash course on what was expected of us as ball men,” said Musekiwa.
Social media went into overdrive after pictures emerged of the men wearing replica Warriors jerseys before the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.
One social media user even accused Zifa of ‘smuggling the men into the stadium under the guise of being ball boys’ – a role normally reserved for 12 to 16-year-olds.
“Some people say we just wanted to watch the Warriors match disguised as ball men but the truth is, we were equally happy to serve our nation,” he said.
Dr Munyonga complimented Zifa for making sure that the Warriors match was not Covid-19 compromised by adhering to all the important steps that ensured the safety of players and officials.