WHILE the world prays for the day humanity will go back to living in a Covid-19 free environment to arrive quickly, some African football clubs must be praying for the status quo to prevail as they have turned the coronavirus pandemic into a weapon to win games at all costs.
In Ghana, a football club that goes by the name of Asante Kotoko are livid.
Back home, FC Platinum described the handling of Covid-19 tests in Tanzania as horror.
At least one coach is reported to have resigned over the use of Covid-19 tests as a weapon to win at all costs by the same team that he coached.
In Nigeria, head coach for Plateau United, Abdul Maikaba described away matches in African football as a terrible experience marked by foul tactics deployed by some home teams to win matches.
“When the players and officials of Plateau United were tested in Nigeria for Covid-19, the result came out negative,” Maikaba told the local press in that country.
“On arriving in Tanzania, we presented the test results to the immigration officials. They now conducted another test on the team five minutes before the game and told the match commissioner that our two key players, who were supposed to start the game, had tested positive,” he said.
The coach revealed that after the game, they secretly went to a hospital in Tanzania to test the players alleged to be Covid-19 positive, and the result came out negative. Simba SC won the tie 1-0 on aggregate. The same Simba SC are the team that allegedly employed “dirty tricks” on FC Platinum in Tanzania last week when they withheld Covid-19 results for the Zimbabwean team for hours before kickoff. Five players missed out on the match after testing positive to the novel virus.
What makes the whole drama stink is the timing of the release of the results, two hours before kick-off when Coach Norman Mapeza had already settled on his final starting 11.
Simba overturned a 1-0 loss from the first leg to win 4-1 on aggregate with the visitors playing under protest. In a post-match interview with club media on Simba YouTube, Coach Sven Vandenbroeck said: “Coronavirus can help or will decide a lot of games in the future and in the next months in the Champions League.”
Vandenbroeck parted ways with Simba SC the following day. South African club Bloemfontein Celtics did not travel to Nigeria to play Rivers United last week after the government refused to relax restrictions. Nigeria demands that all foreigners, especially from the UK and South Africa, entering its soil go into a mandatory seven-day quarantine on arrival on top of presenting a negative PCR (polymerase chain reaction) result done 48 hours before travelling.
This meant Celtics had to arrive by December 29 for the January 6 game.