By Afeseh Apong
The president of the Confederation of African football Dr Patrice Motsepe and his Secretary General Jérôme Mosengo-Omba, have given more clarity on the testing of players for Covid-19 during the ongoing AFCON in Cameroon.
There has been much controversies surrounding the conduct of the tests, with many teams reportedly claiming that there’s a mechanism in place aimed at weakening their squads.
The recent case with the Coelacanths of Comoros, where seven of their players, coach Amir Ed Dine Abdou and four of his staff tested positive prior to their round of 16 game against Cameroon.
Many accused the Cameroonian authorities of foul play and attempts weaken their opponents using Covid-19 as a pretext, but CAF officials have now cleared the air, stating that there is an independent organization taking charge of the Covid-19 situation of teams during the competition.
“During CHAN, there were protest on the COVID-19 test of some teams, because the tests were carried out by a home based laboratory here in Cameroon. This time around, in order to avoid that problem, and suspicion of a local laboratory, we decided to contact an independent laboratory, which has lots of experience,” CAF Secretary General Jérôme Mosengo-Omba said.
” They were the ones who did the testing during the Euros, and during the FIFA Arab cup. So the laboratory came here with their own materials and are the ones carrying out tests on players and team officials, he added.
The laboratory in question is UNILAB, which Dr Patrice Motsepe says are amongst the best in the world.
“To make sure that there was no absolute doubt about the independence, impartiality and legitimacy of this test, we gave it to an independence organization. They’re amongst the best in the world, said Motsepe.
“Many of the positive test which resulted to some of the best players testing positive, is because they were somewhere out of Africa and the came here with a high amount of COVID-19 positive and UNILAB pick it out and some of them said no there’s something wrong with this test, we come from this wonderful country, there is no COVID-19.
Comoros played their game against Cameroon without a natural goalkeeper, as defender Chaker Alhadhur played as the shot stopper. Goalkeeper Ali Ahmada had tested negative few hours before the game, but wasn’t allowed to take part in the game, as per new regulations.
“The medical commission decided to readjust the rules. After haven tested positive, after five days, if you test negative, cardiovascular tests are done before you’re permitted to play. After suffering from COVID-19, we can’t just allow players to go to the field like that and after you start hearing of Cardiac problems,” Jérôme Mosengo-Omba explained.
Many teams have been hit by the Covid-19 pandemic during the ongoing AFCON, with the recent cases with the Tunisian national team, Burkina Faso and Comoros, been the most alarming.
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