South Africa Eases COVID-19 Crowd Restrictions For World Cup Game

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File Photo: South African national football team ahead of their 2022 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifying match against Ghana at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on March 25, 2021. (Photo by Phill Magakoe / AFP)

 

A maximum of 2,000 spectators can attend a World Cup qualifier between South Africa and Ethiopia in Johannesburg on Tuesday as the republic eases Covid-19 restrictions introduced last year.

“The (government) has approved that a limited number of spectators will be allowed back into the stadium,” a national football association statement said.

All sport in South Africa was cancelled in March 2020 as the first wave of the coronavirus hit the most industrialised African nation. Play resumed five months later in empty stadiums.

The lack of spectators inflicted severe financial hardship on the three most popular sports — cricket, football and rugby.

South Africa has been the country hardest hit in Africa by the pandemic with 2.91 official cases and 88,317 deaths by Sunday.

Long-time strugglers, the national team are enjoying a resurgence in qualifying for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, leading more fancied Ghana by one point halfway through a six-round mini-league.

AFP

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