OMUTHIYA-The Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) in Oshikoto has raised fears over the likelihood of possible income losses in the sports sector as a result of the latest Covid-19 regulations, which bar contact sports.
Last week, health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula announced that due to an upsurge in the number of cases, contact sports will not be allowed between 1 and 30 June.
Oshikoto SPYL secretary Josef Katukula said the sports fraternity suffers collateral damage, as statistics do not show that sports activities contributed to the sharp increase of Covid-19 cases and despite previous regulations allowing 100 spectators, no spectators were allowed at either football and netball games, which needs to be commended.
Contrary to contact sports, establishments such as bars, weddings and funerals have proven to be hotspots for Covid-19 transmissions, he noted.
“There is no solution, as this move actually has a direct effect on the already struggling industry. Once these people have more time at their hands, they will become regulars and converge at such risky places, as proven in the past.
“League football in Namibia wasn’t played for nearly two years and many players who earn a salary were left jobless. As a matter of fact, about 3 000 will be directly affected, of which the number is even higher considering their dependents,” added Katukula, who appealed for the relaxation of the regulations.
He said the same scenario exists for netball that just started, noting the MTC Namibia Netball Premier League is a major step for women’s sport professionalisation and earning an income.
In as much as the youth leader acknowledges the ruthlessness of Covid-19, which has taken many lives, he said the ban on contact sports will have an adverse effect on the performance of the Brave Warriors, who soon have to compete in the Cosafa Cup and World Cup qualifiers.
“Therefore, to have a healthy nation, we need to keep the youth engaged and playing, instead of stripping them off their only livelihoods. In the same vein, I wish the President and First Lady and all Namibians a speedy recovery. I further commend the government and frontline workers, who continue to put all regulations and measures in place, including risking their lives, to keep us all safe,” said Katukula.