Geylang player hit by virus, entire squad in self-isolation

A Geylang International footballer has been placed in a quarantine facility after twice testing positive for Covid-19, resulting in the rescheduling of the Singapore Premier League (SPL) club's next match against Balestier Khalsa on Sunday.

The footballer first tested positive during the SPL's weekly testing last Sunday, a day after his side lost 5-0 to Albirex Niigata, and the second was on Monday.

The Straits Times understands that he did not play against the Japanese side, who are currently top of the table with three games remaining.

SPL players and officials have been tested weekly in groups of five since May when Singapore entered Phase Two (Heightened Alert). Previously, they were swabbed every fortnight since October last year, when the league resumed after a seven-month coronavirus-enforced suspension.

The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) and Geylang had received news that there was a positive test from last Sunday's swabbing and an Eagles spokesman said that five of their players were placed in self-isolation immediately, before undergoing further individual tests to ascertain the preliminary result.

Yesterday, an FAS spokesman confirmed the latest positive case and the steps taken to safeguard "the health and safety of all other players and officials of the league".

The identity of the player has not been revealed.

Geylang players and officials will undergo Fast & Easy Testing (FET) every two days until Saturday, when they are required to take a polymerase chain reaction test.

Their entire squad have been self-isolating and training sessions are suspended, said the club.

Albirex players and match officials, who all tested negative last Sunday, will undergo at least two FETs as a precautionary measure.

Barring any positive tests, the defending champions' top-of-the-table clash against Lion City Sailors on Friday at Jalan Besar Stadium will proceed as scheduled. The Sailors are five points behind but have a game in hand.

Albirex general manager Koh Mui Tee said that following notification of the positive case, their players and officials have been advised not to leave home unless to attend training and to buy meals.

  • 4

    Covid-19 cases among Singapore Premier League players since April last year.

He shared that their first FETs yesterday all returned negative.

The FAS added it had worked with the respective venue operators at Our Tampines Hub, Jurong East Stadium, and Jalan Besar, where the necessary deep cleaning protocols for their facilities have been implemented since Monday.

The spokesman said: "The FAS will continue to work closely with the relevant agencies on the necessary follow-up actions to ensure the health and safety of the Geylang players and officials, as well as those from the participating SPL clubs, are prioritised."

This is at least the fourth Covid-19 case involving SPL players. In July, two Tampines Rovers players tested positive after returning from Uzbekistan where they played their Asian Champions League group matches.

In April last year, Hougang United defender Lionel Tan tested positive when the SPL was suspended due to the pandemic.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 15, 2021, with the headline 'Geylang player hit by virus, entire squad in self-isolation'. Subscribe