Tuesday, September 29, 2020

COVID-19 pegs jukskei to the ground

As sport continues to suffer the adverse effects of the coronavirus pandemic, traditional games are also coming under strain.

One such is jukskei. Like many sporting codes, the code has delayed efforts to resume training and competitions. 

“Covid-19 has affected all sectors of society including sport and we are not alien to the effects of this virus,” the chairperson of jukskei Evans Kesiilwe observes.

According to Kesiilwe, these lockdowns that come with the spike in virus infections are making things a little bit more difficult on the association. 

“We have to adapt and find alternative ways that can keep us afloat and focused on the sport,” he says. 

The Juskei association chairman however says despite all this, they remain hopeful that the pandemic will be defeated and allow them to resume their plans for this year.

In the meantime, Kesiilwe says they encourage affiliates and members to continue individual training.

“Since private spaces in yards can be utilised for individual training, we encourage our players to construct temporary jukskei courts in their residential places,” he says.

“This has kept the spirit of competition burning. Lockdown therefore did not deter individual commitment to sport development in our country,” the Jukskei chairman observes.

He says as the pandemic continues to disrupt daily lives, it is important for athletes to keep active as a measure to cope.

“Commitment to sport remains an individual choice to escape the nightmares that pandemics such as this one bring to our lives. As a trainer and a coach, I strive hard to instil focus among the players,” he adds. 

On the other hand, Kesiilwe says the association also continues to advocate for financial independence for members.

He says they have various entrepreneurship efforts to enable them to survive the hardships brought forward by unforeseen circumstances such as COVID-19.  

“We continue to impart financial skills on our players and encourage them never to put all their eggs in one basket,” he says.

“We are a family of entrepreneurs outside the courts of jukskei and this helps in keeping us focused,” says Kesiilwe.

On the brighter side, Kesiilwe says as Jukskei is a family sport, it helps families to stick together during trying times like the current one.

“This sport in particular helps our families to stick together more especially during times like these. As a family sport, Jukskei made staying together and lockdown to positively affect our lives,” he says.

“Our lives were affected both negatively and positively, but we chose to remain motivated,” the Jukskei chairman says.

He further says there were lessons they learnt from the advent of the corona virus. He says ‘lockdown strengthened family values and forced families to form strong bonds.’ 

“We learnt to stay together despite our differences, we learned to use the little we had and we learned to comply with health protocols,” he says. “It also opened new wave of opportunities that we have learnt to grab and utilise.”

Post the pandemic, Kesiilwe says the intention is to continue growing the sport to reach all corners of Botswana.

“We are very optimistic that we will reach all parts of Botswana in no time and have regional competitions,” he concluded.

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The Telegraph September 30

Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 30, 2020.