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18 Jul, 2021 19:25

‘Who are the Olympics for?’ Japan football captain calls for fans to be allowed despite entire South Africa team being quarantined

‘Who are the Olympics for?’ Japan football captain calls for fans to be allowed despite entire South Africa team being quarantined

The entire South Africa football team have been forced to quarantine after two players became the first athletes in Tokyo's Olympic Village to test positive for Covid-19, while Japan's captain has called for fans to be allowed in.

The South Africa pair – Thabiso Monyane and Kamohelo Mahlatsi – and a video analyst are now isolating, with their country set to face hosts Japan on Thursday.

Confirming the news, South Africa manager Mxolisi Sibam said: "Masha and Monyane reported high temperatures and positive saliva tests. They were then taken to do the nasal test, and they unfortunately tested positive for Covid-19.

"Mahlatsi is the latest player to go through the same process."

Sibam added that the entire team has been quarantined while they wait for results from tests that were taken earlier on Sunday.

"This unfortunate situation has made us miss our first intensive training session last night," he lamented, as further reports of six Team GB athletes testing positive spread fears of a mass outbreak across the village, for which Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto has insisted there is a plan in place.

Meanwhile, Maya Yoshida, Japan's skipper, has questioned the decision from the authorities to hold the spectacle without fans.

"I think a lot of people's tax money is going towards holding these Olympics," Yoshida said, as quoted by the Asahi newspaper, following a 1-1 friendly draw against Spain on Saturday.

"Despite that, people can't go and watch. So you wonder about who the Olympics is for and what it is for. Athletes want to play in front of fans."

"Our families have sacrificed and put up with things, they supported us when we were competing in Europe," continued Yoshida, who plays in the Italian Serie A for Sampdoria.

"It's not just the players who were competing, but the family members, every one of them.

"So if they can't watch the match – well, who and what is that match for? There is that question. I really hope we can reconsider that seriously."

Olympic leaders made a late decision to outlaw crowds after consulting with regional and national politicians amid rising Covid rates in Japan.

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