DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania– Tanzania’s football league resumed on Saturday after three months of suspension as the country insists its coronavirus outbreak is under control despite coming under fire for keeping its data secret.

Tanzania has officially recorded 509 cases, but has not given any data update since April 29, and while President John Magufuli assures cases have dropped, the United States has raised the alarm about the outbreak.

Compared to its neighbours Tanzania took very few measures to combat the virus, and opened up universities and international flights earlier this month.

The football league resumed with two games, and one was broadcast live, showing fans shaking hands after the match and sitting closely together without masks — despite a government call for caution.

Government spokesman Hassan Abbasi said he had personally inspected the second game at Mkwakwani Stadium in northern Tanga and was “satisfied the preparations and health guidelines are observed.”

Ahead of the resumption of the league, players were optimistic. 

“I’m prepared for the league and apart from taking the precautions, I leave the rest to God,” said Dar es Salaam Young African (Yanga) Sports Club player Deus Kaseke, whose team played Saturday.

Defending champions Simba hold an unassailable lead of 71 points from 28 matches, with a further 17 more rounds of games before completion of the championship in July.   

The winner will qualify for the African Champions League next season.

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