Currently, the world is grappling with Covid-19’s effect in the health, socio-economic, political and cultural sectors. However, the spread of this pandemic has struck even harder industries such as the sporting sector.
This has resulted in the cancellation and suspension of events and gatherings in various sporting codes across the globe. Recently, health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula announced measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 in Namibia, as a result of the continuous rise in the number of Covid-19 cases being recorded daily. Among the many measures announced, Shangula said contact sporting activities will be banned until 30th of this month.
Previously, football in Namibia was at halt due to squabbles and shortcomings between the Namibia Football Association (NFA) and its former affiliate the Namibia Premier League (NPL). The squabbles led to the NFA expelling the NPL, and later replacing the banished NPL with the new Namibia Premier Football League (NPFL).
Just as football was finally finding its way back under the auspices of the new NPFL, the deadly Covid-19 erupted and deteriorated the little progress made. Not only has Covid-19 derailed football and general football activities, but the situation has also robbed important stakeholders such as players, coaches, match officials, caterers, vendors and many other dependents of much-needed income.
Sports, in general, keep most people busy, focused and fit, both mentally and emotionally, instead of engaging in profane endeavours such as stealing and abusing alcohol.
Nelson Mandela once said: “Sport leads to healthy bodies and minds. Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else can. Sport can awaken hope where previously there was only despair.”
In developed countries, sports of all kind are still ongoing with a limited number of spectators and proper precautionary measures in place for the players and officials. An example is the UEFA EURO 2020 Cup, which starts today.
So, why can’t the Namibian sport fraternity do the same, especially contact sport? Statistically, how many contact sport athletes have succumbed to Covid-19 so far in Namibia?
Let’s take a good example of our immediate neighbours, South Africa, and Zambia. Despite the pandemic, contact sports are still unfolding, and precautionary measures are strictly being followed to ensure the games are conducted safely.
This whole dilemma insinuates that there is a deficiency of advanced mechanisms to strictly monitor and control players against contracting the virus. With that being said, we are, however, living with a lethal pandemic, and therefore let’s respect the minister’s decision and comply with the announced Covid-19 regulations.