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Top Doctor: We Test For Drugs In Their Bodies!

The protocol as far as drug testing in the local game has been explained to the Siya crew, at least from a SAFA perspective.

According to Dr Thulani Ngwenya, chief medical officer at the mother body, mandatory testing for banned substance is the order of the day – and he has confirmed that following a meeting with the SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS) the Premier Soccer League will be getting frequent, but random, visits from the anti-doping agency.

“Just to give you some background, for all the SAFA national teams going to international competitions, we do thorough medical assessments, which includes testing for drugs as well as scans to make sure that our players are fine – from head to toe. One of the other things being checked is of course drugs in their bodies,” Ngwenya told the Siya crew in an extensive interview about SAFA’s breakthrough in drug testing.

He said all SAFA national teams undergo rigorous medical examinations before international competitions.

This includes dope testing.

Ngwenya also confirmed that the U23 team that featured at the Tokyo Olympics did undergo rigorous checks, but not at a local pharmacy as suggested in the football fraternity as that would have been against protocol.

“One of the other things being checked is of course drugs in their bodies. So, it’s a pre-competition assessment that you are doing. They are not doing it because we are scared that our players maybe might have been doping. But we do it to make sure that our players are fit for an international competition – and we do this throughout for all our national teams every time they have to participate,” the doctor explained.  

“It is false that our players were taken to the pharmacy. I ordered the team doctor (Crosby Mulungwa, who was assigned to U23s at the Games) to check the urine content as part of our pre-competition medical assessment because we did not want surprises. That was done with Lancet laboratory, not at a pharmacy like it’s being claimed.”

Such a process was not rare for SAFA national teams, with Ngwenya also confirming that SAIDS arrived without any warning when the women’s team, Banyana Banyana, took on Malawi in their opening game of the COSAFA Cup last week in Gqeberha to conduct routine doping tests.

The next step now is the PSL.


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