Zambia to resume season this weekend behind closed doors

Johannesburg (AFP) –


Zambia will resume their 2019/2020 season Saturday, joining Tanzania as countries who have restarted campaigns halted during March by the coronavirus pandemic.

But unlike Tanzania, where crowds of up to 30,000 have been permitted to attend matches, spectators will be barred in Zambia.

There have been 2,810 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 disease in the southern Africa nation and 109 fatalities.

The majority of clubs must play 10 more league matches, but leading side Zanaco have 13 fixtures to fulfil owing to postponements caused by international commitments.

Forest Rangers top the table on 46 points as they seek a first title with Napsa Stars (45), Green Eagles (44), Nkana (43) and defending champions Zesco United (42) in hot pursuit.

Although lying in the bottom half of the table, Zanaco can also become challengers if they win their three matches in hand.

Zambian officials hope to complete the season by September 16, when the FA Cup final will take place.

Burundi were the only African country to play through the pandemic, completing their season last weekend when Musongati lifted the FA Cup.

Meanwhile, Sierra Leone have become the latest west African state to cancel their season amid the health crisis.

The 26-round championship had reached the halfway stage with Kamboi Eagles one point ahead of Bo Rangers and four in front of Diamond Stars.

African football powerhouses Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal have all cancelled their seasons, but South Africa, Egypt and Tunisia hope to restart theirs during August.