Yaounde (Cameroon), Jan 9 (IANS) Senegal’s goalkeeper Edouard Mendy and striker Famara Diedhiou have tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of their opening match against Zimbabwe on January 10 at the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon, the country’s football federation said on Sunday.
Earlier, Senegal captain Kalidou Koulibaly has tested positive for Covid-19 and all three will be ruled out of Monday’s game unless subsequent testing proves they were false positives. Senegal already had three other players and six members of the team management test positive for the virus before the squad departed for Cameroon on Wednesday.
Koulibaly’s positive test was revealed by his club Napoli on Saturday, who said he was vaccinated and asymptomatic. The Senegal federation then confirmed Chelsea goalkeeper Mendy’s positive report.
Mendy’s positive test raised concerns for Senegal’s star forward Sadio Mane, who flew to Dakar from Britain with Mendy on a chartered jet. Photographs showed the pair sitting close together on the flight without masks.
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has laid down strict rules regarding Covid-19.
“If any player tests positive they will not be authorised to go to the stadium or participate in the match, while teams must play as long as they have a minimum of 11 players available If they have no goalkeeper available, another player must play in that position. Teams that do not have a minimum of 11 players available will be considered to have lost the match 2-0,” according to CAF.
The African Cup was meant to be played in early 2021 but was postponed for a year because of the pandemic. However, it’s set to go ahead a year later with virus cases surging again because of the emergence of the omicron variant.