Windhoek - Most sporting countries in Southern Africa are embracing the new normal of playing sports under very controlled conditions in line with guidelines to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Countries in the region have relaxed restrictions on non-contact sports including tennis, golf and cricket.
All sports have been banned for the last three months as the world tries to combat COVID-19.
Authorities in Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe recently allowed most non-contact sporting codes to resume training.
Tanzania bucked the trend by allowing sports like soccer to continue throughout the period when most of the rest of the world was in lockdown.
Zimbabwe Cricket has expressed readiness to host Afghanistan subject to government clearance, while Cricket Namibia has allowed training to resume in preparation for the Twenty-20 World Cup. Cricket South Africa is also implementing a managed training programme for the Proteas ahead of the T20 World Cup, with one eye on a possible soon return to Test cricket.
The Southern Times Sports last week visited the training facilities of golf and cricket athletes, who are getting to grips with the new reality of practicing while observing social distancing.
Cricket Nambia have also released a robust school and club cricket programme to breathe life back into the sport across the country, while the Namibia Tennis Association has started training for both junior and senior circuit plyers who participate in zonal tourneys.
The International Cricket Council has issued regulations for training and playing in a COVID-afflicted world.
These include a ban on the long-standing tradition of cricket players polishing match balls with saliva. A breach of this regulation will result in the guilty team being docked five runs, or cautioning of the guilty player by the umpire.
Namibian junior tennis player Otesia Karuerua could not hide her pleasure after retuning to the court following a forced three-month hiatus.
"I have not been playing for a while because of COVID -19 and I really felt like a big part of me was taken away. I am glad to be back in court and playing in a tournament after some time," she said.
"I made sure that I kept my fitness through jogging and I also used whatever training routines I could do at home to be able to keep fit.”
The Namibia Tennis Federation will also host a tournament for junior circuit players in July.