If you love watching your favourite team play live at a stadium, you've got reason to smile, but only when you're fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
South African Football Association (SAFA) president, Danny Jordaan, recently announced that fans will be allowed entry to the FNB Stadium for Bafana Bafana’s 2022 World Cup Qualifier against Ethiopia on 12 October.
Local soccer fans have not been able to attend matches at stadiums since March last year because of the novel coronavirus and the prohibition of gatherings.
With South Africa now having vaccinated more than 18 million people, the dream to sit in stadiums is fast becoming a reality.
Minister of Health, Dr Joe Phaahla, welcomed SAFA’s recommendation for the return of spectators to the stadiums and has asked that the association and the department work together to finalise the logistics.
Phaahla revealed in SAFA’s statement that he was appreciative of football’s support to drive mass vaccinations and at the same time help the informal sectors earn a living by selling to fans returning to the stadium.
‘’This is music in my ears. It is a win-win situation. It will spur all and sundry, the clubs, players and the football business.
‘’We also want other sectors of the economy to return to normalcy if the majority of the population is vaccinated – sectors such as tourism, restaurants, etc. So I am here to embrace and fully support SAFA’s initiative,’’ he said.
Further details will be announced during a joint press conference between the Ministry of Health and SAFA on Friday in Pretoria.
South Africa occupies top of Group G with four points and face the East Africans away on 9 October and then again at FNB Stadium three days later. Group G also features Ghana (2nd on 3 points), Ethiopia (3rd also on 3 points) and Zimbabwe (4th with only 1 point).
Meanwhile SAFA has also confirmed that the National Soccer League (NSL) has made a commitment to allow fully vaccinated fans to enter the Soweto derby fixture between Amakhosi and the Buccaneers. The match will also be played at the FNB stadium on 6 November.
“SAFA’s special member, the NSL, has resolved to use the Soweto Derby to also encourage mass vaccination drive,” Jordaan said.
Jordaan also stated that SAFA National Executive Committee members would also need to be fully vaccinated and provide proof to participate further in this drive.