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Jordan Zemura in Covid-19 scare

by Staff reporter
03 Jan 2022 at 05:52hrs | Views
WarARRIORS team manager Wellington Mpandare yesterday called for reinforcements following revelations that Jordan Zemura's AFC Bournemouth was hit by Covid-19 outbreak just before the defender was scheduled to join the national team in Cameroon for the African Cup of Nations tournament.

Zemura, who was scheduled to leave for Cameroon after playing the English Championship football game against Peterborough United at Vitality Stadium tonight, is not likely to make the trip following the latest developments.

The club announced in a statement at the weekend that the match has since been postponed because of the Covid-19 outbreak and injuries in the Cherries camp.

It was not clear how many members of the first team squad had tested positive for the virus and what the nature of these injuries was.

"AFC Bournemouth's SkyBet Championship match against Peterborough United on Monday 3rd January has been postponed due to the number of injuries and new cases of Covid-19 within the first team squad," the club said in a statement.

"The Covid-19 cases were confirmed following the Cherries' latest round of daily testing, carried out in line with the EFL's Red protocols for first team training settings which were introduced following the emergence of the Omicron variant.

"The Cherries' application for the postponement was granted by the EFL on Saturday. The club has worked hard to try and fulfil the fixture. However, taking into account the injuries and positive Covid-19 cases, it does not have a sufficient number of players available in order to do this."

This the first time Bournemouth have had to call off a fixture partly due to the virus over the festive period, following a raft of postponements throughout the EFL and English Premier League in recent weeks.

The club said the affected players have since begun a mandatory seven-day isolation, which could run into the next weekend, when the AFCON tournament kicks-off in Cameroon.

"All those who tested positive have entered a seven-day period of isolation, in line with Government guidelines.

"The fixture will be rearranged for a date to be announced in due course. All purchased tickets will be valid for the rescheduled fixture, but all supporters will be eligible for a refund if they are unable to attend on the new date," said the statement from Bournemouth.

Chances are high that Zemura, who had recently returned from a six-week injury lay-off, could be caught up in the outbreak. The 22-year-old is one of the players to look forward to in the Zimbabwe squad at the AFCON tournament.

The Warriors camp was left shaken with the developments at Bournemouth as they feared the player could be at high risk.

Warriors team manager Mpandare told The Herald yesterday that they were still waiting for official communication from Bournemouth over Zemura's health status.

"The team (Bournemouth) has experienced an outbreak and we have one of our players there. This is where our concern is," said Mpandare.

"Of course, we do not have the finer details yet but it's something that is worrisome. That is why we are saying we need reinforcements to prepare for the unknown."

The Warriors technical team have since started engaging the authorities back home to send to Cameroon the players that were placed on standby because of the ever-present threat of Covid-19.

Due to budgetary constraints, Zimbabwe took exactly 23 players to Cameroon despite the provision by the tournament organisers to allow participating teams to add five extra players in case of an outbreak before or during the tournament.

Youngsters Bill Antonio and Panashe Mutimbanyoka, and South Africa-based midfielder, Temptation Chiwunga, are on the standby list.

"We are happy so far we have not had any positive cases. But Covid-19 is real and the threat is always there. That is why CAF spoke about those five extra players.

"So we need back up in case we experience it in our squad. We are talking to the authorities. We should be fine with at least 26 players.

"These extra guys need to feel the atmosphere in the camp so that it makes it easy for them to fit in if it happens that they are called to step in.

"We have seen that many, if not all, of the participating teams have made use of the CAF provision for five extra players by name squads of 28 players. We feel we also need the kind of backup to be competitive," said Mpandare.

The Warriors were terrified soon after arrival in Cameroon after the point man, that had been tasked to assist the team with the logistics, tested positive for the virus.

They were forced to drop the official and, fortunately for the Zimbabwe team, further tests in the camp returned a clean bill.

"We are surprised people in this part of the world do not put on masks in public spaces like we do back home. We realised the risk was high when our point man in Cameroon, the one who had been assigned to assist us with logistics on the ground, tested positive.

"The guy was dropped after the positive test. As for us, no positive cases were detected in our side in the routine tests that we have been conducting ever since we arrived in Cameroon.

"It's surprising to some of us, what we are seeing here. Unlike back home where you see people wearing masks everywhere, the situation is different here. So the medical team is doing their best to make sure the bubble camp remains safe," said Mpandare.

Source - The Herald