Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
BULAWAYO CITY FC has sent its secretariat staff into isolation after three of their players tested positive to Covid-19.

The premiership club embarked on a “self initiated” testing exercise that saw its players, secretariat and coaching staff getting tested last Thursday in anticipation for restart of training programmes.

The trio, whose names have been withheld, become the first footballers in the domestic league to test positive to Covid-19.

Fifteen City players, technical team members and the club’s secretariat underwent Covid-19 PCR testing on Thursday afternoon courtesy of the local authority’s health department.

City released a statement yesterday saying the players and the secretariat have since gone on isolation.

“Bulawayo City Football Club players and staffers undertook PCR testing on Thursday, 15 October 2020.

“From the exercise we are reliably informed by the City Department of Health Services that three tested positive and have been secured.

“In line with public health information data protection, and data privacy having been taken into consideration, we await receipt of the official test results, we therefore are unable to disclose the names of the affected individuals.

“We have encouraged affected individuals to follow local protocols by self-isolating and working with health officials.

“As Bulawayo City Football Club players remain at the centre of what we do, and stand for as a club. We shall continue to practice Covid-19 protocols as guided by PSL regulations and emphasise mask wearing at all times, social distancing, washing of hands with soap and alcohol-based detergents at our premises.

“The club as a precautionary measure has decided to send staff on self-isolation and they will work from home with immediate effect.

“According to the Fifa Football Risk Assessment Tool — anyone participating in the event (athlete, volunteer, official, food handler etc) should proactively and regularly check their health status (including taking their temperatures and any symptoms).

“Anyone due to participate in the event who is feeling ill should not come to the venue and be advised by the designated contact online or by telephone. Team staff and volunteer leaders should ensure that their teams and volunteers suspected and confirmed patients, on infection prevention and control measures, and where to find more information,” reads a statement from the club.

Sources said a goalkeeper and two players registered in the Under-20 development slots tested positive.

“Two players tested positive and they are now in isolation. They’re asymptomatic. Now the club is waiting for guidance from the health department before releasing a statement,” said a source.

City had taken a proactive approach to have their players tested in anticipation of returning to training.

On Friday, the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) granted football permission to resume training on condition that they meet certain Covid-19 health regulations.

Part of the regulations include having players, technical teams and support staff tested before resuming training.

In an earlier interview, City general-manager Sikhumbuzo Ndebele was excited that the club conducted tests.

“The test exercise is internally motivated.

The players being out and about for a greater breath of the year in health regulatory compliance, safety is at the centre of what we do,” said Ndebele after Thursday’s [email protected]