Tuesday, September 28, 2021

As BFA sneezes, will local football catch the Covid-19 cold?

Sport may have been allowed to resume, but the Covid-19 pandemic continues to pose an immediate and present danger.

Such is the threat of the pandemic that this past Wednesday, five employees of Botswana Football Association (BFA) tested positive for the virus during a test organised by the association.

The five new cases brought to seven the total number of BFA employees who have tested positive for the disease. The other two tested positive before the Presidents’ Day holidays.

And as expected, as the BFA started sneezing, the whole football fraternity is seemingly worried it may now also catch the flu, something which they worry will threaten the resumption of football.

The news of positive cases at the BFA were verified by the association chief executive officer (CEO) Goabaone Taylor who said they have been hit hard by the corona virus.

“It is indeed true that BFA employees tested positive for covid 19 during a test conducted by the association,” the BFA CEO confirmed.

“Two tested positive before the Presidents’ Day holidays whilst five tested positive on Wednesday,” she explained.

The good news, however, according to Taylor, is that the association has not recorded any mortalities from the virus yet. In fact, she says from the first two who tested positive, one returned to work this past Friday whilst the other will return the coming week.

While the local footballing fraternity frets over the threat of the virus to both the sport on one hand and the safety of players on the other, a buoyant Taylor said everything is under control.

“We believe that this will not adversely affect our operations as we have employed mitigating measures such as remote working which reduces physical interaction,” she explained. 

Concerning the threats of escalating covid- 19 infections when football finally gets underway, Taylor pointed out that they have always intimated that their priority is the safety of their stakeholders including players.

“We continue to review the covid-19 situation and should the need arise, we will take appropriate and necessary steps to arrest the situation,” she said.

“We are in constant engagement with our medical committee and as and when it becomes necessary, appropriate steps will be taken to protect the health and lives of all involved in football,” Taylor added.

Then BFA CEO highlighted that as symbolised by previous actions they have taken, safety is always a priority when the association makes decisions. She said the BFA has shown in the past that it is ready to take unpopular decisions if it means saving lives.

While Taylor is upbeat about the association’s readiness to play even in the midst of the rampaging pandemic, the threat is however still looming large as any spike of infections may cause another suspension of sport.

According to local football commentator Kagiso Kgaogano, as the government has granted sport and by extension the football industry a go-ahead to resume, it is now up to the football community to abide by the compliance measures put across to return to play at all costs. 

Kgaogano said with the 11th of September, a date set for the kick off of the elite just over 6 weeks away, one can only pray the situation will be better by then.

With the threat of government suspending sport if infections rise, he said all hope will lie on ‘all the relevant stakeholders having put everything together for a safe return not only to players but also everyone involved.’

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper