Bafana star blamed for Portuguese club's Covid outbreak


Bafana Bafana international Thibang Phete has shockingly been named as the source of a devastating Covid-19 outbreak of the new Omicron variant after 13 Belenenses players tested positive.

Premeira Liga side Belenenses' top-flight fixture against Benfica on Saturday was abandoned in chaotic scenes after 13 players tested positive for the new Covid variant.

Belenenses were forced to name just nine players including two goalkeepers in their starting line-up with the match abandoned in the second half when injury reduced them to just six.

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The 13 confirmed positive cases also accounted for every case in the country at that time.

A Belenenses club spokesperson said 44 players and staff are self-isolating while most of those infected were asymptomatic or had mild symptoms.

Alarmingly, Phete had been named by the club president Rui Pedro Soares in a press conference after the match as a source for the outbreak.

Phete tested positive on return from international duty with Bafana Bafana in their final Group G encounter on Thursday, 25 November.

"In the middle of the afternoon we communicated to the Liga that we didn't want to play the game," Soares said.

"We had eight players who could attend the game and as such, they told us that if we didn't attend the game it would be unjustified absence.

"Playing here today was a shame for all of us.

"We did not like to enter the pitch under these conditions. "Benfica was forced to do it like Belenenses. I regret what happened today, a dark chapter for Portuguese football and for the country itself."

Sporting who are third in the Primeira Liga standings behind leaders Benfica also released a statement.

"What made this situation possible must deserve a deep reflection by all those who defend the sporting truth and must deserve national attention at the highest level," the statement said.

"It is already receiving international attention and marking yet another dark episode in Portuguese football."

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