Malé, Maldives – Maldivian football legend, Ali Ashfaq (Dhagandey) or the Man of Steel has tested positive for Covid-19.
Ashfaq found out that he was had contacted the virus from a PCR test and blood work conducted in Dubai yesterday. Ashfaq also expressed his sadness at not being able to represent Maldives at the World Cup and the Asian Cup Qualifiers due to his condition.
The Maldivian footballer said that he is doing well and wished the team the best of luck. However, there are more players are now expected to test positive for the virus due to close contact with Ashfaq during the training sessions all players held together.
Ashfaq had gone into isolation before his departure to Dubai, after his wife tested positive for Covid-19. He was allowed to rejoin the camp after he tested negative for the virus.
To me, it is the ultimate dream to compete in some way relating to the World Cup, even playing in the qualifying campaign. Maldives are a small nation but we also dream big, dreams that someday we will be able to play in the World Cup.Ali Ashfaq to FIFA.com in 2020
Ali Ashfaq was noticed in the international stage when in 2013, the ace striker was named the ‘World’s 2nd Best Top Goal Scorer’ of the year by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS).
With 23 such goals that year, in international and continental matches, Ashfaq trailed global leader Cristiano Ronaldo by just two goals but was five goals clear of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and eight clear of Lionel Messi.
Ashfaq made history as the first played belonging to the Maldives to be compared to the world’s top marksmen.
Maldivians will miss Ali Ashfaq in the field and with many conveying best wishes to the football icon.