Aston Villa player and Burkina Faso captain Betrand Traore has accused CAF of double standards with regards to COVID-19 testing ahead of their AFCON opener against Cameroon on Sunday. The Burkinabe will be without 5 players, all key players according to the Burkina Faso soccer federation, after they tested positive a day before the game. According to the CAF testing protocols, a PCR test should be done 48 hours before the match by appointed medical personnel. Traore days the players were awoken at 10pm by an unauthorized team at their hotel and ordered to provide samples. They refused to do so . A second team arrived in the following morning and did an antigen test against the guidelines.
The antigen test is the least accurate of the two tests in detecting the virus. Scientists say it is less effective in picking up the Omicron by a considerable percentage.The BF soccer federation said they allowed their samples to be taken out of respect for CAF even though the second team didn’t produce identification cards. Now they want a retest of those found positive and demanded that CAF explain the way they did the test. They also want retests to be observed by their team doctors and done by an independent lab.To their credit they are going to play the match against Cameroon but under protest. That being said dirty tactics on road teams isn’t something new in African soccer. Home teams ,wanting to gain advantage over the away sides have been known to book substandard hotels and unplayable training pitches. This has psychological and physical effect on the away sides and often produce wins for the home team. The wronged team often lodges a complaint with CAF which is more often than not ignored. The aggrieved side often retaliates when the offending side visits them by applying the same treatment. Because of this often the best sides don’t qualify for major tournaments and is detrimental to soccer development on the continent. Now I am not saying the tests were flawed but for the avoidance of doubt the tests need to be redone so that CAF’s reputation is maintained. The tournament is going through a lot of criticism and doesn’t need the scandal at all. Rather get this out of the way so that soccer can be the center of attention.