Football: Baking, puzzles, home runs - Norway players cope in quarantine

By Philip O'Connor
Reuters

By Philip O'Connor

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Norway goalkeeper Oda Maria Bogstad was checking in her bags at Oslo's Gardemoen airport when she was told she would have to self-isolate for 14 days after returning from Portugal due to fears about the spread of the coronavirus. 

The 23-year-old Sandviken player was part of the Norway squad that came third in the eight-team Algarve Cup tournament last week, and a government directive on Thursday insisted that everyone who had been abroad was to isolate themselves for 14 days after returning home. 

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Bogstad flew from Oslo to Bergen on Norway's west coast where her club is based, and with the Norwegian FA also cancelling all football activity until at least April 15 to try to contain the virus, she decided not to stick around. 

"As soon as I found out about the quarantining, I drove home to my parents - they are also in quarantine, as they came to the Algarve Cup to watch the games, so fortunately I have some company," she told Reuters. 

Bogstad is not allowed to go to shops or cafes, to visit training centres or accept visitors, and if she trains she should do so at a distance form others. 

Her experience is in sharp contrast to that of Maren Mjelde, Maria Thorisdottir and Guro Reiten, who returned to their English club Chelsea to find one of the buildings at their training ground closed because of men's player Callum Hudson-Odoi had tested positive for coronavirus.

"We're not in quarantine, but because of the infection in the men's team we are not training until Wednesday," Norway captain Mjelde told Reuters. 

Forward Therese Sessy Asland took to social media to express her surprise that Sweden, where she is back training with her club Kristianstad, has not adopted the same measures as Norway and Denmark. "Can I ask what is Sweden waiting for? Two neighbouring countries that are trying to make this storm as short as possible, while Sweden is sitting on the fence," she wrote on Twitter. Meanwhile, Bogstad is trying to keep busy during her two-weeks in isolation. 

"I brought some exercise equipment with me from Bergen, so the days are filled with either a run in the woods or a physical session in the garden or conservatory," she said.

"I've been thinking of starting to watch 'Game of Thrones', so that would give me something to look at. I also baked a bit, because all the bread was sold out when we got home from the Algarve, and do jigsaw puzzles," she said.

Bogstad said she hasn't suffered financially yet, but that uncertainty remained over whether the Norwegian season will take place.

"Health is the most important thing now, so we'll just have to be patient and focus on that," she said. 

"We'll just have to keep our fingers crossed that the actions now being taken work."

    


(Reporting by Philip O'Connor, editing by Ed Osmond)

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