At the African Cup of Nations in Cameroon, Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy was among a fresh batch of Senegal players who tested positive for the coronavirus.
Mendy Tests Positive
Mendy, captain Kalidou Koulibaly, and striker Famara Diedhiou all passed necessary testing on Saturday, 48 hours before Senegal’s African Cup opener against Zimbabwe, according to the Senegalese Football Federation. Unless further testing shows they were false positives, all three will be ruled out of Monday’s game.
Three other players and six members of the team management had tested positive for the virus before the squad left Dakar for Cameroon on Wednesday. Senegal is one of the favorites to win the African Cup.
Senegal’s star striker Sadio Mane, who went to Dakar with Mendy on a chartered flight, was concerned about Mendy’s positive test. The couple was photographed on the aircraft without masks, sitting close together.
Rise of Omicron Variant
Many of the 24 teams set to compete in the month-long African Cup of Nations have viral cases in their squads, despite Zimbabwe’s announcement on Sunday that its obligatory testing revealed no results.
The tournament kicks off later Sunday in Yaounde, Cameroon’s capital, with the home nation facing Burkina Faso in the first match. The other game of the day pits Ethiopia vs Cape Verde.
The African Cup was scheduled to begin in early 2021, but due to the epidemic, it was postponed for a year. However, a year later, the virus infections are expected to rise again due to the introduction of the omicron form.
In the run-up to the tournament, host Cameroon confirmed cases in its roster, while Burkina Faso may be without five players for the opening game due to the virus. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Gabon and Arsenal is one of many players who have tested positive for the virus before the competition.