Kenya: Spare Athletes the Suffering

The government through the president of the Republic of Kenya banned all sporting activities to stem the rising cases of new Covid-19 infections in the country.

This ban included a raft of other measures and restriction of movement in and out of the five most affected counties. The measures are understandable since Covid-19 infections and deaths are alarming.

Before the suspension, the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Premier League had seen 16 matches played, and it was gaining in momentum. The ban, as we have sadly learnt, included training and all form of contact.

This was really unexpected by the players and their teams and as such, they are really shattered. For a sports person to just sit and do no proper exercises to keep fit, is counter-productive.

We assume that they are doing individual fitness drills but football is a team sport and as such they are losing touch very fast. They feel lost.

Last week, the vaccination of all players had already been started in the hope that they may be allowed to resume the league but the communication from the Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed killed any optimism in that direction.

Amina confirmed on Thursday the Health ministry would give direction on when it will be safe enough to let sports activities resume in the country. The ball is literally in the hands of the Health ministry.

In a few days to come, Harambee stars will be required to play the Uganda Cranes for the Fifa World Cup qualifier.

This shall be done in a huff without any preparations while our neighbours are preparing for the same match. We had anticipated that the ban could be partially lifted but it seems we may not be able to see the coveted route to Qatar.

The teams are also losing on revenue and cannot be expected to honour their players' wages and allowances; the sponsors of the league are on the brink of cutting off their contracts with the football body; confusion reigns supreme!

It is from the above situation that we appeal to the ministry of health for consideration of our sportsmen and women.

They are in a sector cursed with poor organization and when met by conditions like this, the suffering is incalculable. Both the Sports and Health docket can come up with a window of a solution.

All our players are tested for Covid and we can still make that mandatory every two weeks with the help of the government; all players shall have been vaccinated against Covid-19 at resumption; the fans are still to be locked out of stadium and our players be given travel passes in and out of the counties.

These are very small issues that we can enforce brilliantly; it is a small price to pay for continuation. It is a plea that if considered will save us from total demise.

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