Orlando Pirates midfielder Ben Motshwari became the first player from the COSAFA region to test positive for the coronavirus last week and is currently having treatment at home.
Motshwari’s positive test was announced by his club just as the Premier Soccer League and South African Football Association plot a way back to playing in the country.
The 29-year-old has sent a message to fans, urging them to play their part in halting the spread of the virus as he self-isolates at home.
“I would like to thank everyone who has been supporting me and sending me messages in the past few days,” Motshwari said in a video released by Pirates. “I really appreciate it and it really means a lot to me.
“Currently I am under strict medical surveillance and I am doing quite well under the circumstances.
“To all the fans, I would really like to encourage them to maintain social distancing, keep on sanitizing their hands and keep on wearing your masks.”
Motshwari joined Prates at the start of last season from BidVest Wits, where he had claimed the PSL title in the 2016/17 campaign.
He has been a first-team regular for Pirates since, and is a greatly admired player in the league, who has also won the MTN8 and Telkom Knockout, both with Wits.
Motshwari’s positive test will not halt plans for the restart of the league in South Africa, though discussions are still at an early stage and much depends on the progress of the virus in the country.
South Africa has recorded 10,652 cases with 206 deaths, though the 356,067 tests conducted is double that of any other country on the continent, suggesting their ability discover cases had led to the high case count.
Fans in all COSAFA nations are desperate for football to return, and are urged to follow the advice of the World Health Organisation (WHO) to combat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, which include:
Wash your hands frequently: Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
Maintain social distancing: Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth: Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
Practice respiratory hygiene: Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately
If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early: Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.