First South African footballer to test positive for COVID-19 reported
Sphephelo Sithole of Portugal's Belenenses has reportedly come down with COVID-19 - despite showing no obvious symptoms.
Sphephelo Sithole, who plies his trade in the Portuguese top flight, has apparently become the first South African footballer to test positive for COVID-19. Media houses in the European country report that the youngster was preparing for a ‘return to training’ when he was diagnosed with the illness.
South African footballer ‘tests positive for COVID-19’ – who is Sphephelo Sithole?
Sithole, who operates as a midfielder for mid-table outfit Belenenses, is showing no symptoms of COVID-19. He initially had a stint in the under-23 team before breaking into the senior side this season. His breakthrough follows several successful spells for other South Africans looking to make it in Europe.
However, he may just have to take it easy for the next few weeks. His club have since issued a statement on the matter, confirming that they expect Sithole to make a quick recovery and hope he can return to training soon:
“We inform that, in the context of the preparation for the resumption of work, a player from the under-23 team of Belenenses SAD has had a positive result in the COVID-19 detection test.”
“The protocols developed for this purpose are being observed and we hope for a quick recovery of the player, who had no symptoms of the disease.”Belenenses statement
Portuguese football leagues plan a return
The Portuguese Primeira Liga is planning to get underway again at some point in the next six weeks. All games will be played behind closed doors, as the Iberian nation emerges from almost eight weeks of lockdown. Players are being routinely tested, and the objective for the league is to finish off the last few games which remain in the 2019/20 season.
KZN Football Academy would like to send Sphephelo Sithole all our well wishes, strength and a speedy recovery after testing for Covid-19, Belenenses informed earlier in the afternoon, through a statement although the test was positive, Yayá never showed symptoms of the disease. pic.twitter.com/bsFXNneFm2— KZN Academy (@kznacademy) May 6, 2020