Mushekwi finally set for Chinese return. Many Chinese football clubs, including some of its national teams, have been holed up in foreign countries, where they have been having their pre-season camps. Zimbabwe international striker, Nyasha Mushekwi, is heading back to China today as scores of football stars flock back in the wake of tremendous strides, which the Asian nation has made, to contain the coronavirus.
However, the Chinese authorities have led the way, in terming the spread of the virus, with some areas even recording zero new infections. Mushekwi, who retired from international football after the 2019 AFCON finals in Egypt last June, has been in South Africa where he has been working on his fitness with some of his specialist coaches.
He was initially in Turkey, with his Zhejiang Greentown teammates, for a pre-season camp, which was extended as authorities in China battled to contain the virus. However, many of his teammates have since returned to their base in China and Mushekwi told The Saturday Herald he would leave today to rejoin them.
‘‘I’m leaving for China tomorrow (today) afternoon,’’ Mushekwi said. ‘’I think the league will start soon. The Chinese guys (his teammates) went back a while ago. ‘‘I was concerned but now this thing (coronavirus) is everywhere and they have it under control in China.’’
Two months ago, Mushekwi appeared to doubt whether the season would go as planned in China this year. “We are in Turkey for pre-season,’’ he told this newspaper. “I don’t know if we will play this season. It’s pretty tough. This virus is affecting a lot of things.
“But we pray all will come to an end soon. We have been here (in Turkey) since the end of January. We were in Thailand from the beginning of January. “I don’t know where will go after but it’s a sad situation. I can feel for my teammates who have families in China. But, everything will be okay in the end.’’
However, things have changed and Mushekwi is now on his way back to China while football, in other parts of the world, has been halted. Mushekwi’s teammate at Greentown, South African forward Dino Ndlovu‚ has also been in South Africa and it was unclear yesterday whether they would be travelling together.
Ndlovu has been blaming authorities in his country for the way they reacted to the outbreak. “Listen‚ I think in South Africa our reaction is too slow‚” Ndlovu told TimesLIVE.
The Chinese women’s national football team will resume training next week to prepare for the Olympic qualification playoffs against South Korea.
The team flew back home on March 6, after a 37-day stay in Australia, and they will now assemble in the eastern Chinese city of Suzhou. The Chinese men’s national team, who were also away in Dubai, are also flying back home after they were cleared to return following progress in the containment of the pandemic.
Reports have indicated that the Chinese Football Association will restart the Chinese Super League on April 18 but they have not yet been confirmed. Wuhan Zall, whose province became the centre of the epidemic, were also set to leave their training base in Spain and return home in another major sign that the situation has improved in China.
Leo Baptistao, Wuhan’s Brazilian attacker, told the Chinese media just before leaving Spain that the situation had now come full circle. ‘‘We are more in danger (in Spain)). It now appears . . . better to leave,’’ he said. Spain has been one of the hardest-hit countries in Europe.
“It’s true the coronavirus problem has affected the whole world, but in China things are better,’’ Wuhan Zall’s new-signing, Daniel Carrico, told reporters. ‘‘In Europe, cases are increasing daily but in Wuhan, fewer people are falling ill and there’s only a handful of new cases.”
While there are positive developments in China, concern remains in Europe with the lower league clubs in England, still worried about the financial impact of coronavirus on their budgets.
Zimbabwe international footballers, Macauley Bonne (Charlton Athletic) and Andy Rinomhota (Reading), play in the English Championship. Charlton have been struggling, battered by some boardroom struggles, and are said to require about £17million to cover running costs until June 2021. The EFL have placed Charlton under a “registration embargo” since January.
‘‘As part of the League’s continued contingency planning, the Board heard the comments and observations from EFL clubs, before discussing a number of issues including the current financial position and implications, insurance, regulatory matters and broadcasting arrangements,’’ the EFL said in a statement this week.
‘‘Discussions centred on financial relief for clubs in the short term and while there is no one single solution, measures are to be put in place to immediately assist with cash flow via a £50million short-term relief package.
‘‘This fund consists of the remaining Basic Award payments being advanced to clubs immediately, with the remainder made up through interest-free loan facility available to clubs, calculated in line with the EFL’s Article of Associations.
‘‘The cash injection is included as part of a series of measures, that includes potential Government support to help clubs and their associated businesses through this period of uncertainty.’’ Another Zimbabwean international, David Moyo, could also face challenges in Scotland where he plays for Hamilton in the Premiership.
“The club will be impacted, even if it’s from the point of view of the budget available for next season, and any income will be significantly reduced,’’ club chairman Allan Maitland told The Daily Record newspaper.
“We will miss four home games, which would have been big sellers, but there are cost savings to be made as well, because we won’t need to pay for stewarding or anything else for those games, and it’s about looking at what savings we can make.
“We will pay wages for March, April and May, and after that we don’t know what is going to happen, but it’s obviously not a good place to be. “Everybody will be impacted by this, not just football. It’s easy to over-react to what is happening but it’s also vital that we don’t under-react to it.”
Source – H-Metro
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