Nairobi — Football Kenya Federation boss Nick Mwendwa has called on the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to appoint neutral medical personnel and testing facilities for continental matches to prevent hosts from weaponizing COVID-19 to weaken opponents.
Just like it happened in Comoros, several key Stars players were said to be COOVID positive after their testing in Togo when they played their final Africa Cup of Nations qualifier on Monday night.
Skipper Michael Olunga, defender Joash Onyango, keeper Ian Otieno, midfielder Lawrence Juma, winger James Mazembe and two members of staff were said to have been positive for the virus.
But unlike in Comoros where the Kenyan team protested and insisted the alleged positive players had to play, the Stars management decided to leave out the five players from the squad, going on to win the match 2-1.
“In Africa we have to think about this because if we leave here negative, how then do we become positive within hours? It’s a question that CAF has to handle and I am proposing to have neutral doctors and neutral testing when teams go away,” Mwendwa offered.
“We tested the players in camp before we left and they were all negative. They were tested when we landed and on match day in the morning, they come and say some of them are not okay? We travelled with a chartered flight and we were very isolated in our hotel.”
“They picked the core of the team in my opinion. I don’t want to accuse Togo of anything, but we found it peculiar,” Mwendwa further stated adding that Kenya had abided by fair play rules when both Comoros and Egypt played in Nairobi.
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He further added that the players have since tested negative upon their return.
The sentiments were shared by head coach Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee who added that he found it funny that all key players who were to be in the starting team were said to have tested positive.
“After we made the line up, they came in with the report and it felt a bit funny because we left Nairobi having been tested and it was less than 24 hours then we are told some key players are ineligible.”
“It did not cause disharmony in the team but as a coach you feel like you don’t have the stem of the team and you smell some kind of foul play. But this is African football but we need to work as a continent on a better way of doing it,” stated the coach.
Skipper Olunga who was one of the players allegedly positive for the virus says he was pleased the team won despite of his absence.
“Of course I was gutted that I couldn’t play but kudos to the players for going there and doing a job,” added the striker.