As the sport industry continues to open up in the wake of Covid-19, the pandemic continues to pose a serious threat. As the fourth wave now characterised by the new Omicron strain threatens, sport and football in particular maybe under attack as a number of teams register new cases of infections among players.
This past week alone, at least three Botswana Football League (BFL) matches were postponed following outbreaks of covid-19 cases. Police XI was the first to report positive covid-19 cases within its camp, leading to authorities postponing their match against Extension Gunners.
Hot on the heels of them, matches between Gaborone United and Security Systems as well as Mogoditshane Fighters and Prisons XI were postponed to a later date as they faced the same fate.
Elsewhere, Debswana First Division North League leaders Nico United have also reported nine positive covid-19 cases among their squad. Due to this the matches against Santa Greens and Green Lovers were forced to postpone as well.
As it stands, season 2021/ 2022 is expected to end in April; however, the setback may lead to the league prolonging than usual.
According to football analyst Kagiso Kgaogano, with the league already behind schedule, this match postponement may cause more challenges in the football calendar.
“With the League already behind schedule and games being postponed, this may mean the only option the League office has is to squeeze games to push the schedule. This may also compromise the quality of our teams as they do not have the resources to come to matches as a result of the challenges of playing games back-to-back,” he said.
In addition to this, the isolation or quarantine players are subjected to end up compromising their training and fitness. Addressing this matter, Kgaogano said with the sport halt that occurred for a year and eight months, players a still a bit far from being properly fit and the quarantine will affect their training.
“If players are isolated or quarantined that affects their fitness as they will not be able to train properly and also that will also affect the team preparation. But then again remember our teams are given a chance to sign 30 Players (25 including 5 U20 players) at the start of the season so when teams are fixtured back, they should be able to work with what they have as another solution for clubs,” he said.
On the hand, it seems players are taking the issue of covid lightly as players who were registered to have tested positive go against their isolation and mingle with the general public.
“I have been disturbed to see teams having their games postponed but yet we see their players hanging loosely with other players from other teams. If we do not correct that we fighting a losing battle,” Kgaogano explained.
“The issue of covid-19 and the rising number of infections is so disturbing but we all know the highest risks are those that we put ourselves through. Our players should respect their jobs and avoid places of risks,” he continued.