Kaizer Chiefs defenders Happy Mashiane and Siyabonga Ngezana are appreciating life is far more important than their dreams of playing in the Olympics.
The two starlets were included in South Africa coach David Notoane's 78-man provisional squad to take part in the Tokyo Olympic Games which was scheduled to take place between 24 July and 9 August 2020.
However, the Olympics was postponed to 2021 due to the Coronavirus outbreak and Mashiane admitted he was looking forward to playing in the global tournament later this year.
“Covid-19 is a serious concern to the world. I wish that the solution that will stop the spread of the disease could be found as quickly as possible because this can cause much damage to all of us. I was looking forward to the 2020 Olympics, but now what matters is getting over the pandemic," Mashiane told the club's official website.
“Hearing such news at first was sad. However, after clearly getting detailed information about the global disaster really changed my perspective. I realised it is better to be safe than sorry. We’d rather all be safe from illness so that we can be fit to play in the future.
The 22-year-old left-back went on thank South Africa president Cyril Ramaphosa for imposing a 21-day lockdown and he also shared the programme Chiefs have put in place.
“It appears that the solution, for now, is social distancing and being hygienic at all times. We need to support the government’s efforts in fighting the disease," he added.
"If you don’t do this then the virus will spread rapidly. I wish to thank the State President for implementing the 21-day lockdown measures. I just hope everyone will adhere to this so that we are all safe.”
“Firstly, in the morning, go through my prescribed work out plan. I sanitise as much as possible throughout the day. I spend some of my time reading articles and guidelines regarding the prevention and symptoms of this epidemic.”
Mashiane's teammate, Ngezana was also disappointed when he heard the tournament was postponed, but he is aware that the world is facing a deadly disease.
“It was devastating to learn that the Olympics Games is postponed. But more than the Olympics, we cannot function as usual when we are confronted with this serious pandemic," he said.
"The world is facing this crisis of the coronavirus and all, what we are all trying, is doing our best to stay safe. We are in it together.”
The 23-year-old hard-tackling player revealed he is using the 21-day lockdown measure to keep fit and train hard.
“I follow the guidelines as provided by our technical team. I stay indoors and grateful to be spending time with my family. It is rare for us footballers to spend time with family because for most of our time, we are on the road, in camps and training," he added.
Chiefs players Njabulo Blom, Reeve Frosler and Nkongiphile Ngcobo were also included in the provisional squad.