Ntokozo Gumede
Football Writer
2 minute read
2 Dec 2021
8:44 am

Have Sundowns been hit by new Covid variant?

Ntokozo Gumede

There is a possibility that the variant has hit Chloorkop-based side

Co-coach Rulani Mokwena says there are several Sundowns who caught a flu-like bug at Chloorkop. (Picture: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix)

President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to give an update next weekend on the latest developments regarding the coronavirus.

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Ramaphosa kept the country on alert level 1 last Sunday following news that the Omicron variant has hit the South African shores.

If sentiments by Mamelodi Sundowns co-head coach Rulani Mokwena are anything to go by, there is a possibility that the variant has hit Chloorkop-based side as some of their players have been missing in action due to “medical issues”.

Players, coaches and support staff are exposed to the virus when they criss-cross at airports around the country where they are in contact with a number of people. Even at match venues, where the Premier Soccer League did away with staging its games in a bio-bubble.

Mokwena revealed that midfielder Sphelele Mkhulise is one of the players who has caught the “bug”.  

“Mkhulise has got health issues and we have a couple of those in our team. There is a smalla nyana flu that is going around the team so a lot of our players have been out because of medical complications. But we understand the importance of privacy in relation to medical prognosis and that is why I cannot divulge more into the issue but we have medical related absences,” said Mokwena.

However, other players have been missing in action because of injuries, such as Gift Motupa, who is yet to launch himself in Sundowns colours as his progress has been hampered by injuries.  

“Motupa has a muscular complication with soft tissue injuries. We have to be very careful and because if you rush and do not go through the right sort of rehabilitation process, you risk having this player out for even longer. He is an important player for us like all the other players but we have a very strong medical department that is working very hard to make sure that he returns as soon as possible,” Mokwena explained.