Orlando Pirates midfielder Motshwari tested positive for the coronavirus but it won’t affect PSL resumption. Photo: BackpagePix
Orlando Pirates midfielder Motshwari tested positive for the coronavirus but it won’t affect PSL resumption. Photo: BackpagePix

Coronavirus case won't impact PSL restarting, say Pirates

By Minenhle Mkhize Time of article published May 8, 2020

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DURBAN – The novel coronavirus has arrived in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) but this is not the time to press the panic button, according to the club whose player has tested positive.

Orlando Pirates yesterday confirmed their midfielder Ben Motshwari has tested positive for Covid-19.

Motshwari is currently at home in isolation for a period of 14 days.

Floyd Mbele, the administrative manager at Pirates, said there was no need to panic but advised people to be vigilant.

“Let us not think too far. This is just one in 480 (PSL) players. This is not a time where we can start to panic. We are being responsible citizens by sharing this information. We could have easily kept quite,” Mbele said.

“The messaging is consistent. This goes to show that this thing (the coronavirus) is there. We’ve been talking about it when it was not here. We must take all the protective measures, stay at home and practice social distancing,” Mbele said.

Floyd Mbele, administrative manager at Orlando Pirates, warned against panic.

Dr Mahlane Phalane, who is currently working with the PSL, said that what happened to Motshwari won’t affect the idea of playing behind closed doors should the PSL proposal to restart the league succeed.

“No, not necessarily, it is not an obstacle in the PSL’s bid to resume action. We can create a level environment.

“Had we implemented our plan a long time ago, the risk for these players contracting the virus would be much lower. If we were isolated with strict control measures, we would have been in a better position. But for now, players are mingling with their families and friends. They can even go to malls. The risk is much higher now as we speak than if we were to implement the interventions that we proposed,” Dr Phalane explained.

“Our first proposal is to say, ‘let us test them wherever they are’. We’ve already got six Premier League teams in Gauteng, three in Limpopo, three in KwaZulu-Natal, two in Western Province and one in Eastern Cape. Then everyone who is negative can move and we can bring them to Gauteng and isolate them for 14 days. Even within the team, make sure that they don’t interact because if one player is positive, he is going to spread it.

“In essence, we can have another pre-season in one season. In two weeks, there will be no multi-contact activities. After that we can test them for a second time; if they are negative, then they can have limited interaction as a team. So, if you’ve tested negative twice, what risk is there? We’ve created level one and below for them to be able to resume,” he added.

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If the action does resume, it will be behind closed doors.

“We are even higher from what the Bundesliga in Germany has considered. They are screening but we are not talking about screening, we actually need to test them via PCR if the virus is still there. They can then start practising as a team. Players won’t shake hands. They won’t share water bottles.”


The Mercury

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