Cape Town - Orlando Pirates co-coach Mandla Ncikazi has condemned the travel bans imposed on South Africa by European countries due to the Covid-19 Omicron variant, saying “this virus is everywhere.”
Ncikazi was speaking after goals from Tshegofatso Mabasa and Fortune Makaringe helped Pirates defeat LPRC Oilers 2-0 in the CAF Confederation Cup in Paynesville, Liberia on Sunday.
However, the Buccaneers now face an anxious wait to see whether the second-leg will be allowed to be played in South Africa after the variant was detected in South Africa earlier this month and then reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) last Wednesday.
The United Kingdom, European Union and United States have led the travel ban on seven Southern African countries with immediate effect.
“This virus is everywhere. South Africa only highlighted through its good scientists that it is available. It is available in Liberia … it is available in South Africa … it is available in England. I think this Omicron virus is an exaggeration,” Ncikazi said.
“It is here, you just don’t know it. I can tell you because I am from South Africa. This virus is everywhere, but for European countries to just take Africa.
“We are suffering as Africans, not only South Africa. We are just treated as step-children. More people are dying in England than in Liberia and South Africa.
“But South Africa just highlighted the fact that there is a variant. Not because there is a problem in South Africa. The disease is available in all countries. Whether we play in Liberia or South Africa, I am not sure but I think that would be a very unfair decision from CAF.”
Pirates and LPRC Oilers are due to meet on Thursday in Soweto for the CAF Confederation Cup second-leg.
All sporting codes in South Africa have already been affected by the travel ban with the Proteas ODI series against the Netherlands immediately curtailed, while the United Rugby Championship fixtures have also been postponed.
However, the India A cricket team that are currently in South Africa will continue their three-match tour as they await guidance on the matter from the Indian government.