“We have three positive cases of Covid-19 in the camp here, two players and an official,” team manager Mxolisi Sibam said in the press release Sunday, July 18, 2021.
Just days before the Olympics are set to begin, three members from South Africa’s Olympic football team have tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving at the Tokyo Olympic Village, according to the South African Football Association.
The two footballers were Thabiso Monyane and Kamohelo Mahlatsi, while the official is video analyst Mario Masha.
They are the first athletes to have tested positive in the village.
The team left South Africa on July 13 and arrived in Tokyo the following day and had reported negative results.
The video analyst tested positive on Thursday and went into isolation, while the athletes tested positive “on Friday and Saturday respectively,” the association said.
The Japanese public, as well as many international observers, have voiced alarm over the Games going forward as Japan struggles to control the latest coronavirus outbreak.
The country experienced a second wave in the spring, with peaks in April and May bringing close to 6,000 new cases a day. There was a decline in the number of cases in June, but since then, they have risen again over the following weeks.
“We are well aware of the skepticism a number of people have here in Japan,” he said at a news conference on Saturday. “My appeal to the Japanese people is to welcome the athletes for their competitions.”
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics officially began Friday, July 23, 2021, with the Olympic Village containing 21 residential buildings that are occupied by more than 11,000 athletes.