Footballers Union of Botswana (FUB) has criticized some elite teams for disregarding set COVID-19 prevention protocols as football resumes.
The criticism follows reports that some teams had resumed footballing activities without testing players for COVID-19 as per the return to play protocols.
FUB executive secretary Kgosana Masaseng said resumption of footballing activities without testing players is gross irresponsibility on the part of teams.
“Teams should be concerned of the health of players and they must subject them to testing as is required prior to the start of football activities,” Masaseng said.
He said it is high time teams take players health as a priority rather than taking them ‘as tools of trade.’
The FUB executive secretary said they have already appealed to the BFA as the custodian of local football to monitor the situation and make sure teams test players before resuming activities.
Masaseng is of the view that teams should stop being irresponsible and do what is required because putting players at risk of contracting the disease will have an impact on the future of football in Botswana.
“It is unfortunate for some teams not to take the health of players seriously. We are optimistic that those that have not done it correctly will rethink and do the right thing,” he said.
He said FUB does not want sanctions against teams because it will have an adverse impact on the players again.
On Thursday the BFA issued a circular to its structures notifying and cautioning them that they are concerned that teams go to practice without testing players for COVID-19.
According to the BFA they have received a concern from Footballers’ Union Botswana (FUB) that teams have resumed training without subjecting players to tests. The tests are done to preserve the health, safety and lives of players against the deadly COVID-19 virus.
On another issue regarding resumption of football, Masaseng said the FUB is also concerned about the immediate start of competitive football activities without giving players enough time to regain fitness.
“We are also worried about BFA timing of resuming football activities. They cannot immediately start high level competitive football after a long rest. It will have a negative effect on the players especially long-term injuries,” he observed.
Commenting on the matter, BFA spokesperson, Tumo Mpatane warned that teams that do not follow set bounce back regulations will be dealt with accordingly.
Mpatane said in order to make sure teams adhere to the set requirements, the BFA medical committee will do random spot checks to monitor teams and see whether they are doing the right thing.
“We will take serious action because we don’t want to compromise the health of players. We do not want lives to be endangered,” Mpatane warned.
The BFA PRO said though the association has limited resources, it is committed to ensuring a safe return to footballing activities and will monitor the situation closely.
He said it will be up to the medical committee together with the bounce back committee to make sure rules of return to play are fully met.
Among other things, teams returning to football activities are expected to have SHE officers while fulfilling the COVID-19 prevention protocols of washing hands, wearing masks, social distancing and isolations if there are any signs of COVID-19.