Benni McCarthy: 'I hope Chiefs don't get punished for something happening in the world'
AmaZulu coach Benni McCarthy has said that he hopes Kaizer Chiefs do not get punished for a situation beyond their control where the Soweto giants have been unable to honour two DStv Premiership fixtures due to an outbreak of Covid-19 at their Naturena headquarters.
McCarthy said he does not believe the league needs to be suspended as Covid-19 numbers soar amid SA's fourth wave because clubs have protocols in place to counter the pandemic.
The ex-Bafana Bafana striker, though, said where an outbreak had hit a club, such as at Chiefs where 36 cases have shut down Amakhosi's village in Naturena, the Premier Soccer League should show compassion.
McCarthy was asked after his team's 1-1 draw against Orlando Pirates at Kings Park on Wednesday about reports of Covid-19 cases at AmaZulu, and whether he believes it is safe for the Premiership to continue.
“Listen I think if teams follow protocols and you do things the right way then yes, it can [continue]," the coach said.
“Yes, we do have a pandemic and Covid-19 about with the new variant that's going up, but what people don't understand is you still get just the normal cold or flu that's got nothing to do with Covid-19.
“So yes, we did have a few players who weren't feeling very well and we did the necessary Covid-19 tests, and they all came back negative. But obviously you don't want to play with players' health because even though they tested negative they were still feeling under the weather.
“So you have to excuse players from training because if it affects other players then you have more players not available. So we did have a number of players out with normal illness and didn't have them available for some games, which is why we have had so many players unavailable.
“But of the protocols are followed by all the teams then I don't see any necessity for why matches should be cancelled.
“Kaizer Chiefs is just an unfortunate case where the virus spread throughout the whole team. So I think that's rightfully so that you can't ask them to put out an MDC [reserve] team or not enough players out to go and perform at the level, which would be quite unfair.
“So I hope that the right thing gets done there and Kaizer Chiefs don't get punished for something that's happening in the world. We have to show compassion because at the end of the day people's and the players' safety are far more important than a football match.”
Chiefs did not honour their league games against Cape Town City at FNB Stadium on Saturday and Lamontville Golden Arrows at Princess Magogo Stadium on Wednesday.
Amakhosi late last week wrote to the PSL asking for all four of their games in December to be postponed. TimesLIVE is informed the request was declined but that the league has been reviewing the matter in subsequent executive committee meetings.