The Ghana Football Association (GFA) maintains it did not compromise on Covid-19 safety protocols during the Black Stars’ recent international friendly matches against Mali and Qatar after about six players tested positive for the disease on their return to their clubs.
Crystal Palace striker Jordan Ayew is the latest to have been confirmed to have contracted the virus, a situation which forced him out of the club’s Premier League meeting with Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday.
Besiktas midfielder Bernard Mensah was the first to be announced positive. Celta Vigo defender Joseph Aidoo, Hoffenheim centre-back Kasim Nuhu Adams and Vitoria Guimaraes left-back Gideon Mensah have all been reported to have been infected while Trabzonspor forward Caleb Ekuban is reportedly showing unconfirmed symptoms.
“We are informed that some of our Black Stars players have tested positive for the coronavirus following their involvement in Ghana’s friendly games against Mali (October 09) and Qatar (October 12),” the GFA, which has come under heavy criticism in the wake of the positive cases, said in a statement released on its official website on Sunday.”
“The Ghana Football Association (GFA) contingent adhered to all the strict Covid-19 protocols, before, during and after our stay in Turkey. A minimum of three tests were conducted on players, technical and management team members during the training camp in Antalya. The first test was conducted 24 hours prior to the game against Mali where one team official tested positive for the virus and was immediately isolated from the group.”
“With just about an hour to the start of the game against Mali, the Ghana team doctors, together with Turkish health officials conducted another round of tests in the dressing rooms of both Ghana and Mali before kick-off.”
In the first match, Ghana lost 3-0 to Mali, who confirmed positive cases among some of their players before the game, leading to their exclusion from the fixture.
Three days later, the Black Stars bounced back with a 5-1 triumph over Asian champions and 2022 World Cup hosts Qatar.
“The third set of tests were carried out 24 hours before the second game against Qatar and again, no single positive case was recorded,” the GFA statement continued.
“Furthermore, officials and management committee members of the national team underwent another test on Thursday, October 15, 24 hours before flying out of Turkey, this time, one technical team member tested positive for the virus and was immediately isolated from the group, ruling him out of the trip to Ghana.
The GFA ensured all Fifa Covid-19 protocols were strictly adhered to throughout the national team’s engagement and it is quite a concern that some members of the team have subsequently tested positive for the virus.”
The Black Stars are scheduled to re-assemble in November for a 2022 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifying double-header against Sudan.