Safa in move to clear the way for vaccinated fans’ return to stadiums

Johannesburg- The South African Football Association (Safa) will tomorrow meet Minister of Health Dr. Joe Phaahla to iron out outstanding matters in order to allow fans back into the stadium for the Bafana Bafana match against Ethiopia on October 12.

One of the biggest challenges, according to Safa president Danny Jordaan, will be verifying whether the fans have been vaccinated, and that’s where the Department of Health comes into play.

The association wants to have supporters back in the grandstands for the important 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifier against the Ethiopians, who are placed second in Bafana’s group.

The fans too are itching to get back and blow vuvuzelas. In other countries, especially in Europe, fans who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 are now able to watch their favorite teams in action.

Here in South Africa, the slow vaccination drive is holding back supporters’ return to the stadium. Jordaan said those who make a living by selling food, snacks, and club memorabilia at stadiums have been suffering since the country was plunged into the various lockdowns in March last year.

He said that they need to restore the economy of football in stadiums:

“The taxis transport fans to the stadiums, if there are no fans, the taxi business takes a big knock. Those who sell their goods outside stadiums as well. We recognize the hardships of these people and these sectors, and also of the football economy as a result of a ban of fans at the stadium.”

“So, we have looked at all these things and made resolutions as to how to restore both football fans at the stadiums and back into the football environment.”

“We are meeting with the health minister tomorrow to discuss those details because we do need the Department of Health to verify if a person claims that they have been vaccinated, and once that verification process is complete, then they can get a ticket to go into the stadium. We want fans back in the stadiums. It’s now 10 matches that Bafana has played without the fans and Bafana did not lose in any of those matches.

“So, we want them back. We did speak to some of the fans and they were excited because they want to go back and attend matches. The details will be discussed with the minister tomorrow and we will then have a press conference to announce the process for collecting tickets and other important information. We will have a meeting with the government tomorrow to take these discussions further.”

Neighbors Zimbabwe, who is also in South Africa’s group in the World Cup qualifiers, have also applied to their government to have at least 5 000 supporters for their match against Ghana. But their request was turned down due to the National Stadiums’ Covid-19 protocol non-compliance in terms of safety, security and medical issues.

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