Gaborone Region Women’s league side, Double Action was dealt a blow ahead of their trip to South Africa for the COSAFA CAF Women’s Champions League qualifiers when three players tested positive for the coronavirus this week.
Double Action is in Durban as they seek a spot in the continental finals of the maiden women’s club football competition. Their preparations were disrupted when three members tested positive for COVID-19. Mmegi Sport sources said there could have been a breach of the bio-bubble regulations during the team’s month-long camp.
This publication was on Monday informed that Action was initially forced to travel with just 14 players as a result. The team departed Gaborone on Monday.
Botswana Football Association (BFA) chief executive officer, Goabaone Taylor confirmed the team had recorded cases but said there were no indications of a breach of the COVID-19 rules. However, it was confirmed that on Wednesday that the team travelled with 19 of the 22 players in camp. “Yes (Action recorded positive cases). There were 22 players in the bio-bubble set up during the final preparations. Of these, 19 players have travelled to South Africa.
There has been no indication of a breach of the return to play guidelines,” she said.
Taylor added, recording fewer cases during a period where the country is under siege from the COVID-19 demonstrates that local football can adhere to the return to the play regulations. “We believe that the reasons there were fewer cases during the long camp was as a result of strict adherence to our guidelines, which demonstrates that football can safely return as long as teams continue to comply with the set guidelines.
Taking into consideration the current upsurge in positive cases at a national level, we strongly believe that we have demonstrated the ability of football to be played safely even during this difficult time that the country finds itself in,” Taylor said.
Action started their Champions League campaign with a 3-0 win over Manzini Wanderers yesterday. Tomorrow, Double Action play South Africa's Mamelodi Sundowns in a high profile fixture before they take on Lesotho Defence Force FC on Sunday afternoon.
Both games will kick off at 3pm at the Moses Mabhida Stadium. The winner of the COSAFA qualifiers will represent the region in the continental finals to be played in Egypt later this year.