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Covid-19 halts the beautiful game

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In this regard football players and fans in places such as Italy and Spain are feeling the devastation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic

By now if you or any one of your relatives living with you are still standing and going about your normal duties. count your blessings. Some people elsewhere on the planet have perished as the globe wrestles with the onslaught of the coronavirus.

The world’s sporting codes have closed shop for a while. In this regard football players and fans in places such as Italy and Spain are feeling the devastation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

In Italy when the virus struck, the football association over there tried to shield the spectators from harm and allowed scheduled fixtures to be played behind closed doors, meaning without spectators present.

Unfortunately, they learned the hardest way possible that closed doors offer no real protection against the invasion of this particular virus. As we speak some of Serie A’s star players have been laid low by the virus. They, similar to us here in Mzansi, have played about two-thirds of their season’s fixtures.

I bring this up as it appeared earlier that some of our football administrators were seemingly keen on bowing and scraping at the altar of money bags. Some reportedly pleaded for the continuation of football fixtures behind closed doors. Luckily for us, Safa, the national association, was at its post and stopped that type of madness from taking hold.

Now that is the fortunate few who have alert, informed and concerned administrators casting a vigilant eye over their health and general well-being. The real worry comes with the gazillion of informal football clubs that spring up from out of the blue especially during the summer school holidays.

If you add to the fact that these informal clubs at times ply their version of the beautiful game on the humblest of grounds which are often not properly scraped, shaped or even marked out. The attributes of these playgrounds make it impossible for those responsible for public order to spot them and intervene timeously.

Maybe that is where you the parent and the more mature kids come into the picture. Through peer-to-peer monitoring, we can also do our bid to discourage the football die-hards among us from ignoring public safety regulations and persisting on playing their favourite game regardless. We should not let them out to play. It may just be their last match and our last breath. It is that serious.

We on the continent are on the threshold of the predicted upward curve of this pandemic. It means the handful of cases reported thus far will soon balloon to unimaginable numbers, especially if left unchecked.

We owe it to ourselves to be particularly vigilant. We have living arrangements which make us particularly vulnerable to mass attacks of the type represented by this virus. Note that some of our neighbours live in informal settlements with no running water. Income levels there are of the desperate kind meaning fancy hand sanitizers are way out of our reach.

We are routinely crammed into mass public transportation. The taxi associations offer no basic hand wash and wipe facilities nor face masks on their operating sites. Thousands of passengers embark and disembark these taxi ranks which are by themselves not well-maintained.

If you do get infected and are spotted in time it is unlikely your neigbourhood clinic will be able to assist you. The neighbourhood clinic is not equipped to treat or quarantine any number of persons. The ambulances are notoriously also not always at hand to ferry you to the hospital.

So do not wait for more than 30 minutes after calling for assistance. Get yourself to a treating station pronto. Stay alert stay healthy. Salang.