Given positive coronavirus tests of footballers inside the second division I-League’s assorted bio-secure bubbles, a very distinct pealing of the alarm bell precedes the 8 October kick-off of the competition, with a former senior scientific officer of the Sports Authority of India telling The Statesman today that complete safety was a self-delusional belief.
“I think I have said this before and I shall say it again: No bio-secure bubble is beyond springing a leak. If you are familiar with the story of Behula and Lakhindar, you know it. There are two other points that had better not be bypassed. First, facilities made available to the top tier of the playing hierarchy will inevitably elude those below that level in our kind of set-ups. It should not be like this, of course, but that is just the way it is. The official attitude towards them will be somewhat different. Secondly, if a negative result is followed by a positive one, a goof-up somewhere along the way should not be taken for granted. A positive test can manifest itself later than apprehended,” said Dr Laila Das, the erstwhile SAI specialist.
Two players were said to have tested positive yesterday ~ Ansumana Kromah of Bhawanipur being one of them ~ and Mohammedan Sporting Club’s Tirthankar Sarkar had earlier been afflicted with the coronavirus.
That they might have come in all right before being marked “anything but” served to compel fresh attention on a tournament eagerly awaited by the whole of India since it would indicate a restarting of domestic competitions halted since March in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Dr Das agreed that even financially strong competitions, like the Indian Premier League, could be similarly affected as the chances of a minor error playing havoc could never be ruled out.
“Remember so many people testing positive when Chennai Super Kings rolled up in West Asia this time around for the Indian Premier League. Like I said, the coronavirus is death-dealing. It is a secret adversary you never met before and, consequently, an unfathomable phenomenon,” Dr Das said.
Told that Tokyo’s plans for the rescheduled 2021 Olympics included no bio-secure bubbles so far, she said: “Quite understandable, that. Maybe they think the coronavirus will have played itself out of the park by then. That apart, the sheer thought of a bio-secure bubble for an entire edition of the Olympic Games serves to dissuade you. You thereby bite much more than you can chew.”
Wasim Akram, Mohammedan Sporting Club secretary, said that two negative tests ushered a player into the world of putative safety. How positive tests emerge from a bubble is much more than he can understand. But he thinks that Kromah is the only player to have suffered thus.
“Tirthankar tested positive before going in,” Akram said.
Very little was revealed about yesterday’s second victim, though.