Owen Da Gama says coronavirus could force the postponement of PSL matches

Owen Da Gama, coach of Highlands Park during the Absa Premiership 2019/20 match between Highlands Park and Black leopards at Makhulong Stadium, Johannesburg, on 05 January 2020.
Owen Da Gama, coach of Highlands Park during the Absa Premiership 2019/20 match between Highlands Park and Black leopards at Makhulong Stadium, Johannesburg, on 05 January 2020.
Image: ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Highlands Park coach Owen Da Gama has said that football authorities in the country may be forced to consider suspending matches if the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread uncontrollably in SA and around world.

The World Health Organization (WHO) labeled the coronavirus outbreak as a pandemic on Wednesday‚ saying cases outside China had increased 13-fold in two weeks.

A pandemic is a disease that is spreading in multiple countries around the world at the same time and SA has not been spared the panic with the health ministry confirming six more cases to bring the total number of patients to 13.

“We hope that this situation is controlled but if it continues to spread uncontrollably‚ then football must be suspended.

"The authorities will have to assess the situation and make a decision but at the same time playing in front of empty crowds is not what it's all about‚” said Da Gama he prepared for Mamelodi Sundowns' visit in the quarterfinals of the Nedbank Cup at Makhulong Stadium on Saturday.

Da Gama added that they have put measures in place at their training ground at Balfour Park‚ Johannesburg‚ to ensure that their players are safe from contracting the virus.

“We are all concerned about this coronavirus and we have taken measures like bringing in sanitisers and temperature tests to the training ground to ensure that everyone is healthy‚” he continued.

“We try not to shake hands and touch our faces and if a player has a little bit of fever we sent him to the doctor immediately.

"Yesterday it was Kyle Peters and the other day it was Musa but they are okay.

"We make sure that when they come to training in the morning their temperatures are taken because we are not taking any chances.”


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