Chinese Super League team Wuhan Zall made an emotional homecoming after being unable to return for three months because of the coronavirus pandemic. Players had initially stayed at their winter training camp in Spain when the virus peaked in Wuhan in January. After a prolonged transit in Germany, they landed in Shenzhen on 16 March and underwent three weeks’ quarantine. They were greeted by fans when they arrived in Wuhan by train on Saturday evening.
“After more than three months of wandering, the homesick Wuhan Zall team members finally set foot in their hometown,” the team said on the Twitter-like Weibo. Fans, dressed in the team’s orange colours, sang and gave the players flowers as they arrived home for the first time in 104 days. Players will now spend time with their families before training resumes. The team had first left Wuhan in early January to start preparing for the Super League season. By the time they arrived in Malaga, residents in Wuhan were living under strict lockdown measures, and there were no planes or trains in or out of the capital. Coach Jose Gonzalez told Spanish media at the time that the players “are not walking viruses, they are athletes” and asked for them not to be demonised. The Chinese Super League was set to begin on 22 February but it has been postponed. Wuhan raised its official Covid-19 death toll by 50% on Sunday, adding 1,290 fatalities.