Namibia CHAN preparations hit by COVID-19 outbreak

Namibia have had to place their preparations for the African Nations Championship (CHAN) on hold after 10 players tested positive for COVID-19, the country’s football association has confirmed.

The team was due to play in a pre-CHAN tournament in Rwanda from Jan. 7-11, though that is now in doubt.

“The Brave Warriors’ 2021 African Nations Championship (CHAN) preparations are temporarily halted as COVID-19 infiltrates the training camp,” the Namibia Football Association said in a statement.

“The local-based players has been in camp since 8 December 2020 and after the routine tests done on 29 December 2020, 10 players and one technical staff member tested positive for COVID-19.

“The NFA immediately activated the relevant protocols that includes isolation and calling off group activities temporarily. Affected by this is the pre-CHAN Finals preparatory tournament in Rwanda involving the hosts, Namibia and DR Congo, which was set for 7-11 January 2021.”

Namibia have qualified along with fellow COSAFA sides Zambia and Zimbabwe, this despite the lack of a domestic league in the last few years, adding to their remarkable achievement.

It is a second successive qualification for the side after they made the quarterfinals in Morocco in 2018, but lost out to the hosts, who went on to lift the trophy with some ease.

They have been drawn in Group D at the finals and open their campaign against Guinea on January 19.

That is followed by a clash with Tanzania four days later, before they round out their pool play against COSAFA rivals Zambia on January 27. The top two teams in each pool advance to the quarterfinals.

The competition is only open to players who ply their trade in their domestic league.