Instead of celebrating with his teammates at the national training camp, the versatile winger of Bashundhara Kings instead spent the day isolated at the Bangladesh Football Federation dormitory after testing Covid-19 positive
Mohammad Ibrahim never thought his birthday would have been like this.
Instead of celebrating with his teammates at the national training camp, the versatile winger of Bashundhara Kings instead spent the day isolated at the Bangladesh Football Federation dormitory along with six other footballers who tested Covid-19 positive previous day.
“It is perhaps the worst ever birthday of my life,” Ibrahim told Dhaka Tribune after he turned 23 Friday.
“Plan was to spend the day with all team members, but everything changed after the corona report. Now I’m left alone.”
Ibrahim, a reliable choice for the coaches due to his versatility of playing at any position from left-back to left-wing, spent bygone corona days in Cox’s Bazar’s Chakoria, from where goalkeeper Anisur Rahman Zico and defender Sushanta Tripura also come from, and all were found Covid-19 positive.
Before coming to Dhaka to join the national camp, Ibrahim said he did his Covid-19 test in Cox’s Bazar Sadar Hospital, while Zico and Sushanta underwent theirs at Chakoria Upazila Health Complex, but the reports of the Kings trio all came out negative.
The alternation of Covid-19 results within span of two-three days is a common situation for the footballers except Bishwanath Ghosh, and all of them are asymptomatic cases.
With no games since the middle of March this year, these booters maintained individual physical exercises at home, spending one and a half hours per day on average.
Sushanta said he practiced for two and a half hours a day as the full-back recovered fully from month-long calf-muscle injury in March just when the premier league got postponed.
“We all trained personally at home so the fitness level is good. Now I’m little bit worried if the level goes down during the days of isolation. I’ll try my best to get the next report negative,” said Sushanta, 23, over phone.
Abahani Limited custodian Shahidul Alam Sohel too was left “astonished” after finding his report positive only two days after his previous test at Chittagong Imperial Hospital came out negative.
He said, “It was negative two days ago, now it’s positive, but still no symptoms at all!”
Midfielder Sohel Rana of Abahani, who spent his corona days in the capital, staying and training alone mostly at the club dormitory, said he gave his samples to Anwar Khan Modern Hospital Monday (negative) before an altered result came out three days later.
“I was very careful during the corona days but it seems like I couldn’t tackle the virus at the last moment. I’m not worried of the situation because we have enough time to recover and get back to the camp,” Sohel said.
Head coach Jamie Day, from London, also had the same reaction after hearing the news of the first 11 footballers.
The English coach said it was “expected” and that is why the camp started earlier to assess the situation in the first week before his likely arrival on August 16.
In the first 24 tests, 13 booters initially passed the Covid-19 test, but seven results altered in Friday's updated reports from negative to positive, meaning a total of 18 players are now Covid-19 positive.
These seven players joined the residential camp at Sarah Resort in Gazipur.
Seven more players who were previously scheduled to do their Covid-19 test Friday, rescheduled to give their samples Saturday at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University before being allowed to join camp.
It was anticipated that the Covid-19 threat could break out in the existing camp after Zico was in the Gazipur-bound team bus Thursday before his updated Covid-19 result was found positive.
Zico left the bus and returned to BFF House Thursday night.
Masud Parvez Kaiser, the national team assistant coach who is in Sarah Resort, said they became alert after what happened with Zico.
Since then, players were staying separated from each other.
BFF vice-president Kazi Nabil Ahmed told the media Thursday that their main priority is to closely observe the isolated players so that they stay fit and get back after getting fully recovered.
“Once every player gets well and starts the camp in full swing there would be no more concern. They will stay, eat and practice at the same place and no one from outside is allowed to enter the camp,” said the national team committee chairman.
Latest update till Friday at 9pm was, all the Covid-19 positive players and officials will take another test Monday, along with the seven players who will do their test Saturday.