Football Tribe SEA Editor
With the J.League’s resumption dates all set and confirmed, clubs all over Japan have been undergoing full-team training sessions to prepare for the restart of the 2020 season. However, news broke out from J.League 1 team Nagoya Grampus that one of their players has been tested positive for COVID-19, which could cast doubt over the plan to restart Japanese football.
Attacking midfielder Mu Kanazaki was tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday, with the results of his test being announced by Nagoya on Tuesday. Kanazaki is a new addition to the Nagoya setup, having joined the Aichi Prefecture-based club from crisis club Sagan Tosu on loan. The 31-year old has been participating in training sessions held by Nagoya with his new teammates, before he complained of a headache and a fever on Friday. Kanazaki, a former Japan international, checked himself on Monday and was declared positive for COVID-19. Following the test result, Kanazaki is now recovering at a hospital in Aichi Prefecture. It is believed that Kanazaki drove out to see his family around two weeks before Friday’s training session and it was during this time that the former Kashima Antlers star could’ve gotten himself infected.
In response to Kanazaki’s infection, Nagoya made the swift decision to suspend training and disinfect their facilities and clubhouse, before testing their players and staffs for the virus. Thankfully, out of the 19 players and staff members that underwent PCR testing following Kanazaki’s infection, none of them came out positive.
Kanazaki’s infection meant that he is the second J.League player to be infected with COVID-19, following Vissel Kobe’s Gotoku Sakai. Gotoku himself has fully recovered from the infection.
Both the J2 and J3 Leagues will restart on June 27th, with the J1 set to resume on July 4th.