Local football may not be played this year after the ZIFA and Premier Soccer League (PSL) medical committee on Thursday painted a grim picture on the challenges posed by the coronavirus.
The 2020 football season failed to kick-off, as scheduled in March, because of the coronavirus outbreak and the PSL had provisionally set August/September for a possible start.
Meanwhile, in its report to the PSL, the medical committee chaired by a renowned doctor, Edward Chagonda, emphasised on strict adherence to the health guidelines as proposed by Government, FIFA, CAF and World Health Organisation.
Chagonda revealed that his committee, which was tasked with the duty to map the way forward towards the safe return of football, recommended PCR tests, which cost US$65 per test kit. He said:
The Medical Committee has recommended, among other things, the need to test players and officials and we have taken the bare minimum of once every week because the tests are a bit on the expensive side.
From a medical perspective, health and safety are first, before anything else. So, these tests are mandatory and, of course, if we don’t do these tests we could be sued.
So, we have recommended PCR tests which costs not less than US$65 per test.
PCR directly detect the presence of an antigen, rather than the presence of the body’s immune response, or antibodies, and is, therefore, more effective in telling early if someone has the disease or not.
… So, it will all depend on whether the local clubs will afford but, in our case, I think we are in a bit of a Catch-22 situation because we largely depend on gate-takings and, to make matters worse, supporters will not be allowed in.
We had proposed to work with August but, with the way things are shaping up on the ground, with more cases being detected nationwide, it may not be possible.