Kenya: Basketball, Chess and Netball Wait Longer for Greenlight

19 September 2020

Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) will appeal to the Ministry of Sports to allow their national teams to begin preparations for international events.

Basketball is among the contact sports that the Ministry of Sports has not given the go ahead to resume because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

KBF Chairman Paul Otula and treasurer Peter Orero, in separate statements, said basketball should never be classified as a contact sport.

They both said that according to the rules, any contact between players is a foul.

"Basketball is a non-contact sport; in fact, each player is given space referred to as 'cylinder'. Any violation of such space is an infringement or a foul and the offending player is penalised," Otula said, adding that continuous violation of such space results into dismissal from the game.

Best news to Kenyans

The KBF chief said that many countries had resumed sporting activities including those that are worst hit by the pandemic.

Otula said that the lockdown, due to Covid-19 pandemic, has revealed that millions of Kenyans survive on sports revenue either directly or indirectly, saying that resumption of sports is, therefore, a great relief and the best news to Kenyans.

Orero said that resumption of sports was the sweetest news this season, adding that players and teams have been starved of their main source of income.

"We are lagging behind in national team preparations; international competitions have been opened while we have not even assembled our teams for international competitions," said Orero.

He asked the ministry to allow basketball players to resume training and promised to do everything possible to stick to the guidelines.

In another sport, Chess Kenya has protested the government's decision to categorise them under high risk contact sports that will remain suspended until further notice.

Chess aggrieved

Chess Kenya president Bernard Wanjala said they will take up the matter with the Ministry of Sports, arguing that the sport is less risky compared to others that have been categorised under non-contact sports, and given the green light to resume in phases.

"They got it very wrong and we will seek an audience with them (Ministry of Sports) over the matter. We can maintain the social distancing in chess and also the items we use can be disinfected regularly," Wanjala told Nation Sport, moments after Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed rolled-out the guidelines virtually.

The Equity Chess Club captain had earlier told Nation Sport that since the federation is not capable of testing all the players in the Kenya Premier Chess League (KPCL), the Kenya Chess Super League (KCSL), the two events will not resume this year, and instead only the Kenya National Chess Championships will take place.

"We welcome the ministry's decision to relax their stand on Covid-19. It was our main headache because of the rest of the protocols we can implement," he said.

Meanwhile, Kenya Netball Federation (KNF) officials have raised concern that the continued suspension of the sport due to the Covid-19 pandemic will see the national team fall in global ranking.

Netball is amongst the disciplines that will remain suspended after being categorised under contact sports by the Ministry of Sports.

Players are disappointed

Speaking to Nation Sport moments after the guidelines were released, KNF Secretary General Millicent Busolo said the players are disappointed since they will not resume playing anytime soon, and that it will cost the national team at the international assignments that are lined up for next year.

"It came as a huge shocker to them (players) because they have been waiting for the guidelines to be released so that they resume playing. Next year from January we have various competitions that will be used to rank countries, how will we post a good performance if we are yet to start serious preparations," said Busolo.

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