Kenya: Reconsider Ban On Football

opinion

With the Covid-19 pandemic raging and threatening lives, we must all admit life is hard as it is.

The protocols put forward by the government must be adhered to in an effort to stem the tide of this pandemic. The past year was the worst for Kenyan and global football; we had erroneously thought we are through with it, especially with the partial resumption of normal activities. We were wrong.

The third wave has been confirmed and our situation has changed from bad to worse. We do not fault the government directives because we do know they are meant to save us from the debilitating effects of the virus.

What we find crippling is the fact that all sporting activities were banned. The local football league had just begun to hot up when this directive hit us. There are many teams in all tiers of Kenyan leagues and the relapse to the situation we were in last year may be the last nail in our coffins.

The suffering of our lads has not yet been fully comprehended nor studied; it has yet to draw any empathy from the powers that be. Somebody may have forgotten to inform the executive about what the ban on sporting activities really entails as far as Kenyan football is concerned.

The first step we took when the season commenced was to test all our players; of course some teams were forced to do it and pay the cost themselves even though that is the silly politics of our federation and we do hope it shall change. We were not perfect in that but we were successful in the fact that there was no Covid case found in our fields.

These are just a few of the things done. Fans were not allowed inside and we have had the opportunity to follow the matches on TV. This reduced interactions that may have contributed to the spread of the virus. We have done it all and we were safe.

What happens at the moment is that we are grounded. The players cannot be paid with the league in limbo; the calendar for this season is compromised and will take time to adjust; league sponsors are on the verge of pulling out for lack of revenue; everything is in a quagmire.

We do know Covid is a threat to us all, but we must accept and live with it. We have followed all the protocols and we have been safe in local football. If we can be allowed to have matches, it will not only save our players from suffering; It shall also enable us to stabilise the national team ahead of 2022 World Cup qualifiers; it shall simply give us some life.

We plead with the government to reconsider this issue and give it better thought. Kenyans are now watching matches from countries under complete lockdown but that have found accommodative ways not to kill their sports.

Sports is a great employer and our league can be done without any rise in infections.

It is an honest plea.

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