The secrets of the “armored” concentration that the National Team put together to wait for Lionel Messi and company

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While the arrival of the Flea is awaited for the first days of October, in Ezeiza a very strict operation was armed. This Monday the 25 people who make up the staff will enter the premises.

There is little left for Lionel Messi to arrive in Argentina and once again be the captain of the National Team at the start of the Qualifiers towards the World Cup in Qatar 2022. ratified by FIFA and Conmebol, on October 8 against Ecuador in La Bombonera and the 13 against Bolivia in La Paz. The arrival will be between the 4 and 5 of next month and from there the AFA property will shelter him and his companions, in an environment free of coronavirus. The sanitary bubble to house the national team will begin to rule from this Monday under a strict protocol that will seek to have the success that the experiences of clubs like River and Boca did not have.

To avoid making the same mistakes that led to a team outbreak xeneize and to miss several days of practices directed by Marcelo Gallardo for a positive case indoors, Daniel MartinezHead of the medical team of the selected team, together with his entire team and the advice of specialists, he diagrammed the planning that must be rigorously carried out without exceptions.

How will the albiceleste bubble? The first rule is very clear and simple, but not always easy to follow: no one goes in and no one goes out. No one. That is the crucial requirement to maintain the “shielded” concentration and avoid possible leaks. There can be no relaxation in this regard.

For this reason, this Monday at 9 p.m. the 25 persons that make up the entire delegation. It is about all the staff of the Selection that is made up of the technical, medical, administrative employees, some manager in charge, props, communication, kitchen and waiters, maintenance and cleaning. In addition, an infectologist will join.

All these personnel have already been tested twice. On Friday they underwent the serological test, which measures antibodies. Two of them – who are not part of the coaching staff – found out that they had Covid-19 at some point and never realized it. Then it was the turn of the PCRs, but with saliva.

What is the difference with the already known swabs? None: they detect the virus in the same way. This type of test is widely used in the United States. This Sunday they were tested again through saliva PCR. They all tested negative. But it did not end there since every four days they will be controlled. In turn, doctor Martínez gave a talk on the prevention of the virus to staff on Friday.

Why should everyone be isolated from this Monday? The same mandatory 14-day preventive isolation applies that must be carried out when entering the country. This is because exactly in two weeks the first footballers of the 30 that Lionel Scaloni has already summoned from abroad will begin to arrive, plus those that are announced from local football, which will be between four and five and will be known within a week.

Minimizing the possibility of leakage of the virus is the premise, although they warn from AFA that there are never one hundred percent guarantees for more rigorous precautions that are taken. Always a very small percentage of risk remains. But we will try to keep it to a minimum. In fact, the entire property was sanitized to the extreme a few days ago.

Life inside the site will not be very comfortable. There will be two complexes affected by the bubble. The staff will be divided between the Youth sector and the Major concentration. Those who remain in one place cannot access the other. They can only be crossed if they are on a walk in the open air, but with distance and masks on.

They will sleep in individual rooms. Outside of them, the use of the mask will be almost permanent. They will take it off to eat. Precisely at meals the tables will be of three people maximum and with the due distance. The meetings will be outdoors. If the coaching staff wants to analyze videos together, for example, no more than three members can do it in the same room.

The second stage It will begin with the arrival of the footballers, between October 4 and 5. The coexistence protocol, room distribution, meal times, use of the gym, changing rooms and common rooms such as recreation are being finalized. With the entry of the players, Claudio Tapia, president of the AFA, would join to stay there and be part of the delegation.

Each player will be tested when entering and will not be able to leave the venue. They will do it only to move together to the Boca court on the day of the first match and then to travel to Bolivia, which is being defined if it will be on a charter flight on Tuesday 13.

In the midst of the pandemic, the national team is preparing to open the door again to Messi, finally enabled for both games, and the rest of those chosen by Scaloni to take the first two steps on the long road to the next Copa del World.

When Lionel Scaloni set foot in the country last Tuesday, he still wasn’t certain what was going to happen with the South American Qualifiers. The man born in Pujato arrived from Mallorca, where he resides with his family, and went directly to the Ezeiza property to carry out the strict preventive quarantine that the Government ordered to anyone who enters the national territory.

A few hours later, the president of the AFA, Claudio Tapia, told him that everything had been given so that the road to Qatar 2022 effectively begins, as stipulated, in October, on the 8th and 13th. This was made official on Thursday after that FIFA confirmed that European clubs will be obliged to give up their players.


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