Monday, June 1, 2020

BFA tread carefully ahead of resuming play

Botswana Football Association (BFA) will take all precautionary measures as it mulls resumption of the football leagues amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. This was revealed by the BFA National Medical Commission Chairman Dr Lone Bogwasi in an interview with Sunday Standard Sports. Bogwasi says the association is drawing a comprehensive strategy on how to open the football league season safely. There is currently no medical solution in sight for the novel coronavirus and projections show medical cure may only come early next year. 

As such, Bogwasi says ‘they will tread carefully’ to avoid possible infections or exposures when the football season finally resumes. “We are currently in discussions planning how to start the football season safely,” the BFA Medical Committee Chairman says. Dr Bogwasi says they are yet to finalise their plans and strategies, but hints that they intend to have completed it by next week. He says while planning for the resumption of the league, the BFA will not put itself under pressure to open as quickly as other countries like Germany may do. “We are aware that some leagues like the German Bundesliga are ready to play again. Closer to us here, South Africa’s Premier Soccer League (PSL) is also in discussion to resume play,” he notes. “Our situation is however not similar to that of the two countries. Germany for instance has the capability to make thousands of tests daily.

In fact, we understand players in the Bundesliga will be tested twice if they have one match a week or three times if they have two matches. We do not have that capacity even at national level,” he explains. According to Dr Bogwasi, the BFA’s plan to resume the league will rely on the direction from the relevant government ministries and organs as well as the prevailing situation in the country. He further states that any decision or date as to when the football season can resume will also depend on how the country controls the spread of the virus. The BFA National Medical Committee Chairman reasons that as the winter season, which is regarded as the flu season has just started, it is too early to tell whether the worst has passed. 

“I believe we will only be able to know how much we are affected towards the end of the month of June. If we can go two months with no or less infections, we may then be able to know how safe it is to resume,” he says. Meanwhile, Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) is requesting National Sport Associations (NSAs) to submit their completed level of preparedness plans ‘for the purpose of updating the National COVID-19 Task team on the possibility of sport activities resuming.’ 

In a memo dated 13th May and signed by the BNSC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Falcon Sedimo, the NSAs shuld submit the information to the office sports commission on or before tomorrow, Monday 18th May 2020. 

Among other things, NSAs will inform the BNSC on how soon they would be in a position to resume its activities in the event the restriction on movement and sports activities is lifted. The NSAs will also have to inform the BNSC of the level of risk of exposure to COVID-19 in its sports activities. 

The local sports controlling body expects sports associations to give detailed plans or proposed strategies as well as precautions that will be undertaken ‘to resume sporting activities’ at individual, club and association levels.

Other considerations include the number of spectators the associations expect at its competitions.

In their plans, NSAs should also show ‘health precautions and/or measures they will put in place to ensure the safety of athletes, officials and spectators.

The same precautions extend to other critical areas such as preparation of facilities and venues as well as equipment.

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Sunday Standard May 24 – 30

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of May 24 - 30, 2020.