Fungai Muderere/Nhlanhla Mbele
Apprehensively a variety of safety precautions have been implemented as all the country’s sports codes have trimmed their activities in line with President Mnangagwa’s recent policy proclamation on steps to deal with worldwide health crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Football clubs join the plot on how to dribble past corona
Castle Lager Premier Soccer League clubs, Division One teams and junior teams were early this week forced into hibernation to aid the Government’s battle with coronavirus.
Chicken Inn players were on Tuesday handed a three-week break amid revelations that they were, however, encouraged to remain professional by the club’s head coach Joey Antipas and secretary general Tavengwa Hara.
“We have closed shop. We decided to remain clear from the coronavirus. The break will last up until Easter Holidays,” said Antipas who led Gamecocks to a successful off-season tour of Malawi last month.
“I must say these coronavirus developments have greatly affected us as a club because after our trip to Malawi, we were ready to go. However, life is more precious than football. We have to look after ourselves and we have encouraged our players to remain professional. We gave them a training programme to follow,” added Antipas.
Hara said: “While as a club we had the capacity to make sure that our players remain isolated, we saw it fit to release our boys to go home for three weeks where they will also make sure their families are isolated. These (players) are professional young sportsmen, role models and to them we said go out there and spread the word on coronavirus.”
Zimbabwean champions FC Platinum have split their players into three groups as part of a comprehensive response aimed at reducing the risk of infection at the club.
“The club has already initiated a three-shift training programme where players are divided into three fixed groups training at different times of the day,” FC Platinum said in a statement.
Under this arrangement, it means their players are no longer training at the same time, with only nine fine-tuning at a given period.
“This approach allows nine players at any given time on the field thereby reducing the risk through manageable squads. This goes further down to other measures like reducing contact and tailgating (discussions) to advance awareness on Covid-19. This is not all there is to the fight against Covid-19 but it definitely is something better than folding hands towards prevention of the spread of the coronavirus,” concluded the FC Platinum statement.
Highlanders Football Club have shelved all group training activities in line with measures introduced by the Government.
Club chairman Kenneth Mhlophe said they abandoned all activities until further notice.
This was reportedly on the advice of the club’s medical doctor Shepherd Khumalo and in response to measures announced by President Mnangagwa. Players and staff at Bosso have been directed to stick to strict social distancing protocols.
Highlanders players had normal training sessions last week.
There were indications that Bosso players were going to wear masks during their fine-tuning but that has since been abandoned, with the club calling off all activities to help the nation fight the spread of the deadly pandemic that has been declared a national disaster by President Mnangagwa.
Twitter Kings, as Bulawayo Chiefs are affectionately known, have drafted individual training programmes for their players to reduce the risk of coronavirus infection.
During this period, Chiefs coach Thulani “Thuts” Sibanda will reportedly conduct “spot checks”, raiding players at their homes and taking them through some exercises.
Amakhosi Amahle, with over 29 000 followers on Twitter have used the microblogging and social networking service to educate people on Covid-19, with their captivating player announcements which are accompanied by coronavirus awareness messages.
Pool cue sticks shelved
The Zimbabwe Pool Association advised its affiliates that all pool related activities were suspended until the end of April 2020.
“This is a precautionary measure in light of the Covid19 virus which has affected many countries in the world including our neighbours.The board will continue to assess the situation and keep the Zipa fraternity informed of any further developments around the suspension of these activities. Consultations have been made with councillors and will continue until the situation returns to normal,” said Zipa president Godknows Marawanyika.
No more volleyball spikes, for now
Zimbabwe Volleyball Association (ZVA) has issued an office closure notice.
In the notice, the ZVA management committee said that its offices would be closed for visits until further notice.
“No one will be attended to at the office and members are discouraged from visiting the offices. The secretariat will attend to all your queries via electronic means through mobile WhatsApp and email. Members will be informed of all and any information that may be due via all our communication channels,” read the notice.
Last week, ZVA postponed all national and international activities which were scheduled for the period of 16 March to 30 April as a result of the ravaging pandemic.
ZVA also discouraged inter-provincial movement of team (s) and player (s) for purposes of competition, training and other activities until the situation has improved.
Hold on to the slam dunks
The Basketball Union of Zimbabwe’s (BUZ) suspension of provincial leagues and activities until the end of March means the league’s finalisation will be delayed and as such as the BUZ national qualifiers and finals will also be delayed.
“Commencement of leagues is not guaranteed to be in April and teams are to be prepared to play remaining games and the BUZNC at whichever point that is deemed safe to do so. Until the end of the BUZNC competition, all provincial leagues will be treated as “in-season” and players are still registered to their current leagues. The player movement window remains closed,” read a statement from BUZ.
“Should it not be possible to resume and conclude the BUZNC cycle, Mercenaries and Harare Hornets women will be treated as the defending champions and will go on to represent Zimbabwe should Fiba competitions have resumed,” further read the statement.
ZOC athletes commission general meeting among other activities shelved
THE Zimbabwe Olympic Committee (ZOC) Athletes Commission general meeting and forum that was scheduled for Saturday in Harare has been postponed to a later date in line with precautionary measures against Covid-19.
The meeting and forum were aimed at educating athletes on the importance of the Athletes Commission and to highlight issues related to critical aspects such as safe sport.
Each national association was expected to send a representative to the meeting.
ZOC Athletes Commission chairperson Abel Chimukoko said they postponed the general meeting and forum until end of April.
“We have postponed the meeting due to the coronavirus pandemic for almost a month and a half till the end of April 2020. If the situation improves then we will carry on. But if it doesn’t improve, we also stand guided by the authorities,” said Chimukoko.
“We cannot monitor the movement of people. People are coming from different areas, we don’t know how they are, where they have been to, so it’s very difficult for us to have them in one place coming from different areas. It’s just a postponement, not a cancellation, because it’s scheduled.”
ZOC president Admire Masenda said they were postponing all their programmes until the end of April.
It pleases to note that the local sporting fraternity seem to have implored standard and elementary procedures in the war against the coronavirus.
Social distancing is key and safety doesn’t end with sanitising hands!