Observing strict protocols crucial to resuming football, says Dr Thulani Ngwenya, national football’s Covid-19 compliance officer. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix
Observing strict protocols crucial to resuming football, says Dr Thulani Ngwenya, national football’s Covid-19 compliance officer. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

SA football can’t fall foul to protocols, says SAFA doctor

By Herman Gibbs Time of article published Jun 24, 2020

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South African Football Association chief medical officer Dr Thulani Ngwenya has been appointed as national football’s Covid-19 compliance officer.

The appointment was made over the weekend at the National Executive Committee’s extraordinary meeting at Safa House.

Ngwenya, who is also the Bafana Bafana team doctor, will hold down the position for the rest of the season.

“It is a huge responsibility because the staging of matches will require observing government protocols around the coronavirus pandemic,” said Ngwenya.

“By this time the clubs have been supplied with information regarding their role and responsibility. They will be required to adhere to the letter of the regulations.

“The health of players and team support staff is of paramount importance,” added Ngwenya.

“We must make sure that nothing happens under our watch that will contribute to the spreading of the coronavirus. We cannot fall foul of protocols.

“Match officials have also been schooled in protocols, so everyone at venues that are connected to football will be au fait with what the regulations are. We want to be observant to the letter of the law at all times.”

The Confederation of African Football this week issued circulars to member countries advising of developments around the spread and control of Covid-19 on the continent.

Ngwenya has been participating in Caf’s medical committee meetings over the past few weeks.

“The 27-page document titled ‘Caf Guidelines to Resume Football in Africa’ landed on my desk on Tuesday morning and I will be sharing its contents with Safa and the National Soccer League,” said Ngwenya.

“There are essential elements which should constitute the basis of all decisions regarding the reintroduction of football across the continent supported by the authorisation of relevant state authorities.”

Caf’s acting general secretary Abdelmounaim Bah said the Caf guidelines will provide member countries with an all-embracing plan to resume competition.

“Many considerations were factored into the putting together of the document by our team of experts, notably the specificities of the continent.

“Together with strategies established by local authorities, it provides the (member countries) with adequate information to resume operations upon receiving the green light.

“This comprehensive document is a major step towards resuming football on the continent.

“Based on recent developments, it is important we have a plan in place to guide our stakeholders on the return of continental and domestic competitions, and the need for an all-hands-on-deck approach.”

The Caf executive committee is scheduled to meet on Tuesday, June 30 via video conference and will make pronouncements on the recommendations by the respective standing committees.

IOL Sport

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