The PFA continues its series of Q&As with overseas-based members, with Brandon Borrello and Jimmy Jeggo providing updates on their situations in Germany and Austria. In our latest Q&A, the caught up with Daejeon Hana Citizen defender Connor Chapman. The 25-year-old former Newcastle Jets, Melbourne City FC, Incheon United, Pohang Steelers and Western United player provides an update from isolation in South Korea.

PFA: What is your current situation?

CC: We have managed to continue life pretty much as normal, apart from mass gatherings. It’s quite amazing the response here and they have been able to make everyone aware of where the virus is spreading by mass testing throughout the country and have enough masks for every citizen and hand sanitiser and temperature testing everywhere you go. 

They have closed gyms, churches, schools and people worked from home for a small period, but all shops, restaurants and businesses have stayed open throughout the outbreak. They have probably been in the top few countries in regards to response and its comforting to be able to be here through this outbreak with how they’ve responded.

PFA: When did you first hear about the pandemic?

CC: I first heard about the virus when I was on our pre-season camp in Spain. I didn’t think it would be so severe until we got to the airport to head back to Korea and everyone was wearing masks. That’s when it kind of sunk in. But this was around the February 10, so the numbers outside of China weren’t that bad then. Obviously in Australia we have never really been through something like this recently so it was quite a shock to the system at first personally.

PFA: How have you personally dealt with not being able to play football?

CC: Obviously it has been hard not being able to play. But the whole world is in the same situation, we are all in the same boat. This down time without games really puts it into perspective how much I do love my job and appreciate the small things. Football is nothing without the fans and I think this tough period will help everyone appreciate how much we all love football and the simple things in life that we aren’t able to do at the moment. But obviously football is very minute compared to what is going on at the moment. 

PFA: What other activities or hobbies are you taking on to pass the time?

CC: My partner and I have been cooking and trying new recipes in the kitchen. I also bought a coffee machine so she is teaching me how to make coffee as she was a barista when we were in Melbourne. She also loves getting TikTok on and trying to get me to become her background dancer which hasn’t been working out well!

PFA: How about mentally? Have you been coping well at this time given all of the negative news and without football?

CC: At the start it was pretty easy to get sucked in and read all the news updates daily. My partner and I learnt quickly not to read into all the negative news as it becomes quite draining focusing on it day after day. The news back home is hard to watch as we both love Australia and we are hoping everyone’s safe including our family and friends. The reaction seems quite amazing from afar as Australia has never really experienced an outbreak like this compared to Korea or China so it was always going to take us more time to react and realise what needed to be done to help contain it but they seem to be getting it under control which is encouraging. Personally its obviously hard not to be able to do my job of playing football, but everyone’s in the same boat at the moment and its just something I’m sure we will all be able to overcome. 

PFA: Did you think it would have such a significant impact on football?

CC: When Korea become the first country outside China to have mass infections it became quite a worry. A lot of the players and staff in China I have been with had been sent home so when we started to rise in numbers and the virus spread worldwide it was quite concerning. The numbers raised rapidly here very quickly in two isolated cities so at the time it was concerning, but the government got it under control very quickly which was encouraging. I didn’t personally expect it to shut down nearly all football worldwide but there are more important things than football at the moment and hopefully we can all help each other and get through this pandemic safely.

PFA: What advice would you give to other players at this time?

CC: Definitely get outdoors at least once a day to clear your mind, as per local guidelines. I think now is the time to learn or try something you’ve never tried before, enjoy time with family or loved ones and try and block out all the negative and focus on things to help yourself and your community through this tough period. Exercising my brain and body has really helped me so far get through this tough period.