Joint Safa-PSL plan expected to help deal with positive Covid-19 cases before teams resume matches

A file photo of the South African FA president Danny Jordaan chairing Joint Liaison Committee meeting attended by PSL chairman Irvin Khoza and Kaizer Motaung among others at SAFA House. Safa and PSL have important decisions to make over the coronavirus health scare.
Image: Safa.net

SA Football Association (Safa) chief medical officer Dr Thulani Ngwenya says the architects of the joint Safa-Premier Soccer League (PSL) plan are delighted that only a few positive tests have been coming back from clubs in anticipation of the teams’ return to training.

The plan formulated by a task team of the joint liaison committee (JLC) between Safa and the PSL for a return to training has been approved by the Department of Sport‚ as the clubs await the green light from the league.

Ngwenya said the plan for a return to training will help clubs identify‚ manage and eliminate positive Covid-19 cases before the teams enter a single biologically safe environment (BSE) to resume matches and complete the 2019-20 season.

“The document talks about each team having to appoint compliance officers over and above each having a consulting doctor‚” Ngwenya‚ also the Bafana Bafana team doctor‚ told an online press conference of the SA Football Journalists Association (Safja).

“The first step then would mean all clubs‚ including technical‚ players and support staff‚ would have to test. After testing‚ and we have cleared everyone and they are negative‚ only then are they allowed to start training.

“But then what does it mean if people test positive? It simply means that the ones who tested negative can start.

“Because remember it’s a staggered approach – you don’t go full blow at the same time.

“And the staggered approach is that in the first week they train as individuals‚ perhaps the second week departmental [small group] training‚ and then the third week the full compliment.

“And that also buys us time to manage the ones who are positive.

“We are actually thrilled that we have seen cases who have tested positive‚ and we were expecting that. No-one is immune to the virus‚ even if you are physically active.

“But what actually thrilled us is that when you check the teams who have tested‚ you do not have more than four – and perhaps four is even too much – who have tested positive. And the majority are negative.

“That tells us that the players and the members of the club have really been disciplined and listening and doing the regulations as stipulated by the gazette of the Disaster Act.”

Ngwenya said going forward the PSL clubs will need to disclose how many Covid-19 cases they have had.

By Marc Strydom – TimesLive

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