AmaZulu coach Benni McCarthy has played down suggestions that his team has been struck by the Covid-19 crisis after reports suggested a number of players within the squad have been recovering from the virus.
DURBAN – AmaZulu coach Benni McCarthy has played down suggestions that his team has been struck by the Covid-19 crisis. This comes amidst reports emerging this week suggesting that a number of players within the squad have been recovering from the virus.
“People need to realize that the normal flu also exists which is not related to Covid. We did have a few cases of players not feeling well and after doing Covid tests, they came back negative. We did not want to risk the players’ health.
“Even though they tested negative, they were still feeling under the weather. We have to excuse the players from training so that it does not affect other players,” said McCarthy.
McCarthy expressed his hope that DSTV Premiership teams maintain professional attitudes towards fighting the pandemic so that games can continue as normal amidst the current crisis in the country.
“If teams follow the protocols, I don’t see why games may have to be cancelled. We are professional and every team is trying to keep their players fit and healthy while also trying to keep them from getting Covid,” he said.
McCarthy did offer sympathy to Kaizer Chiefs who have not honoured their most recent fixtures against Cape Town City and Golden Arrows due to a reported outbreak among players and staff of the club. The Soweto giants have requested for all their games this month to be postponed.
“Kaizer Chiefs have been unfortunate that the pandemic spread throughout the whole team. Rightfully so, they can’t be expected to put out their MDC team or a team with an insufficient number of players. I hope that the right thing is done and that Chiefs don’t get punished for something that’s happening throughout the world.
“We have to show compassion because at the end of the day the players’ safety is far more important than a football match,” said McCarthy.
Meanwhile, AmaZulu have now drawn five consecutive league games and ten overall this season following their 1-1 draw with Orlando Pirates in Durban on Wednesday.
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Speaking after the game against Pirates, McCarthy felt that Pirates’ first-half goal, scored by Deon Hotto, should not have counted.
“I was convinced that we should have been given a free-kick. Their player never got anything on the ball. He took out André De Jong and the referee waved play on. It was on the halfway mark of the pitch. They then made one pass and got the goal. We felt we were hard done by and the decision that went against us cost us the goal,” said McCarthy.
McCarthy joked that his side are starting to resemble Moroka Swallows. The Dube Birds played out to 20 league draws last season, setting a new unwanted league record in that regard.
“It’s another draw which we have to take. I hate to say this but it looks like Swallows are adapting to Durban. My players have given everything. They fought but I am also now getting tired of all the draws,” said McCarthy.