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By Tshepo Ntsoelengoe

Football Journalist


Banyana hit by Covid-19 ahead of Wafcon quarterfinals

Banyana face Tunisia in the quarter-finals of the Wafcon on Thursday.


Following the news that top striker Thembi Kgatlana has been ruled out of the Caf Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (Wafcon) due to injury, Banyana Banyana face another blow with some of their players having tested for Covid-19.

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The name of the Banyana players who have been hit by the virus were not shared with the media, with the team preparing for their crucial quarterfinal match against Tunisia in Rabat on Thursday.

Kgatlana ruptured her Achilles tendon during South Africa’s 1-0 victory against Botswana in their last game of the group stages.

Banyana’s physician Rodney Mokoka says one of the officials tested positive before the Burundi match and there was also a player who tested positive in the last match.

“We had one official who tested positive before the Burundi game (in the group stages of the tournament). The official was isolated and treated as she was symptomatic,” Mokoka was quoted on Safa.net.

“And 48 hours prior to the Botswana game (the final group stage match), we had one player who tested positive for Covid-19 and she was also symptomatic. She was put in quarantine and treated accordingly. Her asymptomatic roommate who tested negative is in isolation, hence they both missed the Botswana game.”

Now with chances of more players not being available for the Tunisia clash, this should certainly be a worrying factor for head coach Desiree Ellis. However, Ellis remains positive ahead of the Tunisia match especially since there will be another round of tests to be conducted before the match.

The clash against Tunisia is vital for Banyana, with a win not only guaranteeing them a spot in the semi-finals of the Wafcon, but also a place at the 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup to be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand.