ZIMBABWE international forward, Prince Dube, turned out for his Tanzanian side, Azam FC, yesterday – just a day after the Warriors’ friendly international against the Flames in Blantyre on Sunday.
The in-form striker pulled out of that match, saying he was injured, but was back in action just 24 hours after the Warriors’ battle in Malawi.
Dube scored twice, including converting a penalty, in a friendly against Fountain Gate FC.
Azam, who powered to a comfortable 4-0 victory, fielded their three Zimbabwean players – Dube, Bruce Kangwa and Never Tigere.
The Tanzanian club, who have won all their first five league matches of the season, with Dube at the heart of their success story, were preparing for their league game against Mwadui on Thursday.
Dube was one of the regular members of the Warriors who pulled out of the friendly match in Malawi for various reasons.
His Warriors’ teammate, Kuda Mahachi, withdrew from the match, against the Flames, after testing positive for Covid-19.
This meant he was unable to travel from his base, in South Africa, to join his teammates in Harare ahead of the trip to the Malawi commercial capital.
SuperSport United chief executive, Stan Matthews, revealed yesterday that three of his players tested positive for the coronavirus.
Matthews said Mahachi had wanted his status to remain confidential but he ended up revealing his identity after his name appeared in this newspaper yesterday.
“Yes, it’s true, but he asked for confidentiality,’’ Matthews told Kick.Off.com.
“He has been in isolation and will be retested on Friday. We had three players and they are still in isolation pending retesting. We may have to play without them.
“I can’t say but will release their names after retest… not big names. Apparently Kuda was in Zimbabwe Herald as first Zim positive… that’s why I confirmed his name with you because it was already in the public domain without me.
“But, the other two, I can only tell you after they test negative.”
As many countries grapple with a second wave of coronavirus cases, hundreds of footballers have flown thousands of miles around the world to play international fixtures.
Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp, has expressed concerns about the safety protocols in place to prevent players catching or spreading the virus on their travels.
The club have seen their own mini outbreak after Sadio Mane, Thiago Alcantara, Xherdan Shaqiri and Naby Keita all tested positive for Covid-19.
Shaqiri had already traveled to Switzerland, to report for international duty before the Swiss Football Association confirmed he had tested positive, raising the question about the wisdom of holding an international break during a pandemic.
The Ukrainian Football Association also confirmed on Tuesday that two of their players had tested positive ahead of a friendly match in the French capital of Paris, a city which had just closed bars, gyms and swimming pools for two weeks and raised the coronavirus alert to maximum following a spike in cases.
Under normal FIFA regulations, clubs are obliged to release players that are called up for international duty by their federations.
Despite the ongoing pandemic, FIFA says those same obligations remain, though there are some exceptions.
For example, a club has the right to reject a players’ international call-up if they would be required to self-isolate for five days upon their return or where there are travel restrictions in either of the countries in question.
However, the UK government have ensured that top footballers would not have to quarantine on their return to the country by adding “international and domestic elite sportspersons” to a list of people exempt from self-isolation rules.
FIFPro’s general secretary, Jonas Baer-Hoffmann, told Reuters players should be able to refuse national team call-ups if they are concerned about travelling.
“The players need to be able to make free decisions,” he said. “It’s a region heavily infected by the pandemic and there are certain COVID-19 restrictions and travel warnings.”
Several African countries, as well as Austria, were impacted during this international window after RB Salzburg announced they would not release players after three of their squad members tested positive for Covid-19.
Mali, Cameroon, Zambia, Austria and Hungary had all called up players from Salzburg’s squad before the club announced the positive tests, which came days after a Champions League play-off with Maccabi Tel Aviv, itself decimated by a spate of coronavirus cases.
Dutch club Ajax also barred African internationals — Ghana’s Mohammed Kudus, Moroccan pair Zakaria Labyad and Noussair Mazraoui, and Lassina Traore from Burkina Faso — to travel and join up with their national teams this week because they would have to quarantine on their return to the Netherlands, according to Reuters.
Meanwhile, South African authorities have given the country’s FA permission to allow amateur football to resume with immediate effect
The South African Football Association could now be forced to reconsider their decision to call off the ABC Motsepe League season. — Sports Reporter/Reuters/Kick.Off.com.