ATK Mohun Bagan, FC Goa and SC East Bengal alone accounted for 37 cases, sources said. The total positive cases and isolations for those who share a room or are close contacts should be approximately 60. Four games have already been postponed, including three in the last three days, and it’s no surprise that players have now lost the hunger to succeed.
“Players are losing interest and the desire to continue to compete,” Goa captain Edu Bedia said in a post on social media, shared by many players. “They continue to play to collect their contracts without any ambition. This is what has been achieved with this year’s rules. Whether you like it or not, all the people inside the bio-bubble just want March to come and the league to end, whatever the outcome.”
The Spanish midfielder was not alone.
“It’s not easy, specially when you are closed in your rooms,” said Kerala Blasters defender Enes Sipovic. “You think only how not to test positive (for Covid-19), specially when your wife, kids and, in my case, I need to be take extra care of my wife because we are expecting a baby.”
Wives and girlfriends of players are among those who have tested positive. The two-year-old daughter of a foreign player is also among the positive cases, sparking fears across the hotels where teams are based.
“No one can understand how hard it is in a bubble without being inside,” said Chennaiyin’s Polish striker Lukasz Gikiewicz. “We don’t feel normal life… we have to bring it together to finish the season to the end.”
In a meeting on Sunday, some clubs pushed for the league to take a break and reconvene after the rise in cases has been arrested. The organisers, though, remained non-committal, telling the gathering CEOs they will revert with new SOPs that will allow them to train, rather than get locked inside their rooms.
Till Sunday when the meeting happened, seven clubs –- ATK Mohun Bagan, Kerala Blasters, East Bengal, NorthEast, Jamshedpur, Odisha and Bengaluru – were barred from training. Goa were also locked but allowed to step out only for training.