Saturday Mar 14, 2020. 15:00
The South African Football Association (SAFA) has stated that it will be guided by the government, health authorities and the directives of FIFA and CAF in regards to the Coronavirus.
While most football activities are being suspended or cancelled around the world – including major divisions such as the Premier League, La Liga and Serie A – South Africa will continue with its scheduled domestic calendar.
Friday night, for example, saw Bidvest Wits become the first team to advance into the semifinals of the Nedbank Cup, while the remaining quarterfinal matches scheduled for today and tomorrow are going ahead, as is a round of the second-tier GladAfrica Championship.
“We wish to acknowledge the Coronavirus is here with us. A number of cases have been reported by the Government and the Health Authorities. The sad news is that the number of people who have been affected by the virus is still growing at this stage,” said SAFA in a statement.
“However, the positive news is that the disease is not an epidemic in our country as yet. We have full confidence in our Health Authorities. We have seen critical patients getting better after coming into contact with the virus.
“As the football family of South Africa, we are taking our cue from our Government, represented by the Department of Health and our football mother bodies, FIFA and CAF. We will be guided by these authorities in all the decisions that we will be taking.
“On our own, we have already taken measures to minimise travelling of our teams to severely affected areas. Last month, we withdrew our Olympic Team from participating in a friendly in Japan.
“We have already developed precautionary measures for all our members, teams and clubs to use as a guideline to minimize contact with the virus. These measures have been posted on our website. We have also sent a circular to all our members advising them about the precautionary measure.”
SAFA welcomed the decision of CAF to suspend the scheduled 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers later this month and added:
“It is our considered view that there is no need to panic at this stage. The virus is not an epidemic yet. We are positive that the situation will improve rather than worsen.
“We believe that there is no need to either suspend or postpone the football program in the country at this stage. This position could change, pending the developments in the spread of the virus. We are reviewing the situation on a continuous basis.”