Swallows feel the pinch of health protocols

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
Givemore Khupe of Moroka Swallows and Brandon Theron of Cape Umoya during their GladAfrica Championship match at Dobsonville Stadium. / Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images
Givemore Khupe of Moroka Swallows and Brandon Theron of Cape Umoya during their GladAfrica Championship match at Dobsonville Stadium. / Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images
Image: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

Derived from a popular car insurance TV ad, "breathing through the wound" has arguably been the most used line in the country to describe one's dire financial situation this year.

This citation looks appropriate to narrate the story of several GladAfrica Championship clubs, who were forced to dig deeper into their pockets to make sure they comply with the Premier Soccer League (PSL) and sports ministry Covid-19 guidelines, before they can be granted permission to resume training.

The health protocols stipulated by the PSL and sports ministry include the testing of all the players alongside staff and disinfection of training fields. All clubs are also mandated to hire Covid-19 compliance officers. Coronavirus tests cost between R850 and R1,500 per person.

Moroka Swallows chair David Mogashoa has revealed that the Soweto club spent around R600,000 to make sure they comply with the league's protocols before they are allowed to resume training.

"Since we started with the testing of players and accommodation for quarantine, I think it's about R600,000 we've spent. Remember when we test players, we've to put them at a hotel and even now they're still at a hotel," Mogashoa told Sowetan yesterday.

"Obviously this is affecting everyone because it's an unbudgeted expense and it's very expensive. But we'd to make sure we do what we'd to do to make sure we proceed with training." Mogashoa also confirmed that three of their players who tested positive last week are healthy in quarantine.

Swallows have already submitted their action plan to the PSL, subject to approval. The Birds boss anticipates it'll be approved today, planning to resume training Monday.

Meanwhile, Uthongathi director Nkosinathi Chili told Sowetan yesterday the Cane Cutters had forked out R53, 000 on tests.

"We're one of those clubs who're struggling with finances... this Covid-19 has hit us hard. Testing alone cost R53,000 and we also sanitised our training field for R10,000. Fortunately all our players are negative," said Chili.

Uthongathi have already submitted their protocol document to the PSL, hoping to resume training Monday as well.

JDR Stars chairperson Nditsheni Nemasisi echoed the sentiments of Mogashoa and Chilli.

"We don't make enough from football, so this has left us struggling. I don't have the actual figures as yet, but for Covid-19, we tested about 39 people, R850 per person, so you see it's not easy," said Nemasisi.

Like Swallows and Uthongathi, JDR await approval from the league after filing their plan. The Tshwane club have no positive Covid-19 cases.

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