Katana: playing through coronavirus ‘very scary’

Fans are allowed into grounds in Belarus, though few risk it – leading to a rise in cardboard attendees

Kenyan midfielder Mohammed Katana has said that it has been “very scary” to have to play through coronavirus in Belarus, where he plays his club football.

While football has begun to return in some of the bigger global leagues – first in South Korea, and now Germany’s Bundesliga – in a handful of countries, it never stopped.

One such was Belarus, where the league continued behind closed doors despite rising numbers of coronavirus cases in the country.

Katana, who joined Smolevich-STI in the Belarus top tier at the beginning of the season, said that players who have been out of action for months should not envy him and his fellow players in the Belarus league.

“Playing well aware of the Covid-19 situation is very scary,” he said.

“Most of the leagues have been stopped but we continue to play. It’s putting us under immense pressure.’

Yansane (right) expressed concern about sanitary conditions on Twitter
Yansane (right) expressed concern about sanitary conditions on Twitter

Football fans in Belarus are still allowed into the stadiums, although various fans clubs have continued to lead boycotts across the country.

“I try to block the fear of contracting the virus when I am heading into a match because I want to showcase my football prowess,” Katana added.

“I am largely trusting God to keep me safe and protect me from Covid-19’’.

The Belarus has had eight rounds of matches played so far.

On Friday, Guinean international Momo Yansane, who plays for Belarusian side FC Isloch Minsk, sent a tweet calling for better sanitary measures to be installed before any more games were played, claiming that several members of his team had contracted the virus.