Covid test tampering: Calls for Simba SC exclusion from CAF Champions League

By Paul Nicholson

March 23 –  Allegations of covid test tampering have hit the CAF Champions League group stages, with clubs whose players have tested negative before leaving their country, being told they have tested positive following a second test in the host country.

The fury around the allegations reached a peak with Sudanese side El Merrikh being told before their game against Tanzania’s Simba SC on March 16 that eight key players had tested positive for Covid 19.

El Merrikh made an immediate complaint that the tests had been tampered with by Simba SC,  but were forced to play and ended up losing the game 3-0. This players who had been tested positive separately went for further tests and all returned negative results.

Simba SC have now filed a formal complaint against Simba SC demanding they are excluded from the CAF Champions League. The Tanzanians lead their group after four games with 10 points, three ahead of Egyptian giants Al Ahly.

“A delegate from Simba Club, not from the Tanzanian Federation, handed the team’s coronavirus tests, which saw eight players test positive,” El Merrikh’s legal council Ahmed Abbas told Sada El-Balad TV.

“After we received the news about the eight players we asked for a postponement, because it’s logical that if there are eight injured, then the rest of the players may carry the virus.

“CAF’s official response was to refuse to postpone. We then realized that the players infected were the backbone of the team. Simba’s coach, Didier Gomes, was Al-Merrikh’s coach and he knows which are the most important players of the team.

“The players went to the lab and did the second analysis without informing them they were Al-Merrikh players, and their results came out negative.

“We filed a complaint against Simba calling for their exclusion from the CAF Champions League, based on the CAF rules regarding result-fixing.”

This is not the first time that Simba SC have been accused of manipulating the covid tests of their opponents. Plateau United of Nigeria and Zimbabwe’s Platinum made similar accusations in their matches against Simba in the preliminary rounds – both teams losing key players prior to the game.

Plateau United lost five players moments before the game. The players were later tested at a private hospital and all returned negative results.

Similar allegations of covid test tampering have also be made in Rwanda, Uganda and Ghana.

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