South Africa’s U23 Olympic team reports three COVID-19 cases

Morocco will be the host country for the 2022 Africa Women's Cup of Nations, the Confederation of African Football has announced. /VCG

South Africa’s men’s U23 football team suffered yet another blow in its preparations for the upcoming Olympic Games after three members tested positive for COVID-19.

According to a statement from the South African Football Association (SAFA), an official, video analyst Mario Masha, first tested positive on Thursday evening and subsequently went into isolation.

The South African U-23 Olympic team confirmed three positive COVID-19 cases with five days to go before their opening match. /VCG

Two players, Thabiso Monyane and Kamohelo Mahlatsi, then also tested positive on Friday and Saturday respectively.

The news comes just days before South Africa’s opening match against hosts Japan in Group A on July 22.

“There is daily screening which included taking temperature and saliva testing, Masha and Monyane reported high temperatures and positive saliva tests and were then taken to do the nasal test, which we all had initially taken and they unfortunately tested positive for COVID-19 through that test. Mahlatsi is the latest player to go through the same process,” team manager, Mxolisi Sibam said.

Sibam added that the team had been placed under quarantine until it is cleared to train.

“We are now all in quarantine until we get cleared for training today, pending this morning’s results. This unfortunate situation has made us miss our first intensive training session last night,” he said.

Last week, SAFA announced that five players had been released from the U23 men’s Olympic squad due to various medical reasons.

After Japan, South Africa is due to face France at Saitama Stadium on July 25 and finally tackle Mexico at the Sapporo Dome on July 28.