Football nears return in SADC

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Timo Shihepo

Some Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries are now mooting the idea of allowing players to return onto the football pitch after Covid-19 pandemic halted the leagues in March.

Tanzania – the current holders of SADC chairmanship has already allowed its football to return with matches having taken place on 13 June after the government agreed for sporting activities to resume from June 1.

In order to minimise the risks of the spreading of Covid-19, the Tanzanian Football Federation (TFF) formulated guidelines and rules for players and fans.

According to the TFF, there will be a limited number of fans at each venue and they will be required to wear masks at all time and observe the one metre-social distance while entering and seating inside the stadium.

At the same time, the fans will be required to either sanitize or wash their hands with running water and soap while their temperature will be taken before they enter the premises of the stadium. The Federation has also announced that old-aged fans and children will not be allowed into the stadium.

For players, teams will be required to practice social distancing in the bus with each player allocated his own seat, subjected to temperature checks before boarding and when they arrive at stadiums.

Medical personnel in the stadium will also need to put on their masks and gloves at all times.

For the media, there will be a limited number of photographers at pitch-side while no interviews will be allowed within the playing area.

Dressing rooms for both players and match officials are also required to be equipped with soap and running water and fumigated before and after matches.

Prior to the restart, teams have been in camps with regular Covid-19 tests.

In South Africa, Minister of Sport and Recreation Nathi Mthethwa gave the Premier Soccer League (PSL) the go ahead for clubs to start training, provided they respect health protocols and safety measures as stipulated by the Disaster Management Act regulations.

Not all countries are eager for football to return as for example on 14 June the Botswana Football Association (BFA) announced the cancellation of the main premier league.

In Malawi, Covid-19 changed the country’s football calendar to August to May from the original timeline of March to December.

 

 

 

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