Coronavirus: Second shutdown forces Zambia to cancel Super League

August 3 – Zambia has cancelled its top flight, the Super League, following a steady rise in coronavirus infections with clubs flouting medical protocols. The league had resumed in July after the pandemic shutdown. 

The Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) took the decision considering an increase of coronavirus infections among teams’ officials and players. The league will now end on August 6 and the governing body will crown a champion.

“The decision to close the league has been necessitated by the concerns that the association has received from various stakeholders especially government through the Ministry of Health particularly from Zambia National Public Health Institute,” said FAZ in a statement.

“Unfortunately, despite signing up to observe the guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health, the compliance levels by most of the clubs have not been satisfactory. Among the breaches noted were failure to manage the isolation of players and officials who tested positive, … failure to observe social distancing and lack of sanitizers and disinfectants at designated places.”

Forest Rangers, Zesco United, Buildcon and Napsa Stars were among the teams where the virus has circulated.  Even before the restart on July 18, Forest Rangers announced that a total of 28 members tested Covid-19 positive. Recently, Napsa Stars disclosed that a total of 19 members had contracted the disease.

“The recent surge in numbers of the Covid-19 occurrences has put a strain on the health system across the board,” continued the FAZ statement. “FAZ has been monitoring the situation and also constantly engaging the authorities on the possibilities as the numbers continue to surge.”

“One of the major challenges has been the long delays in securing test appointments and results by most of the clubs in the league after being tested which meant that certain matches could not be played due to the inability of clubs to produce results when called upon to do so.”

The governing body has set October 17 as the date for the 2020-21 season to kick off.

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1601005306labto1601005306ofdlr1601005306owedi1601005306sni@o1601005306fni1601005306