Kampala- The only difference between this coronavirus pandemic and World War I and II is that we are not shooting at and blowing each other up. You just have to look at the adverse effects the malady is having on the globe, both socially and economically, to feel it.
Yet, the only certain thing about it remains its uncertainty.
The virus that was first reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year continues to mess with world order, forcing global travel restrictions, wearing heavy on health facilities, rearranging social and work lifestyle and conversely hurting the economy.
The pandemic has proved to know no titles, respect no one and has the capacity to infiltrate and mess with anyone.
Uganda is one of the countries that had – by press time – still held strong with no case of Coronavirus reported, even as neighbours Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania registered numbers and world figures shot through 200,000.
Deaths are through 9,000, globally.
To prevent an ambush and prepare for eventualities, President Museveni on Wednesday announced several measures to be adhered to provisionally for a month, with sports activities being suspended for 32 days.
“Public gatherings such as sports events, concerts and discos and so on are banned for the next 32 days,” said the president in a televised address, “It is good that for some time now, we have stopped the practice of shaking hands and hugging. That is very good.”
Within hours, different sports federations issued statements, suspending all respective activities.
Football cold run
Fufa immediately announced that “All Fufa authorised competitions will remain suspended” for 32 days.
They include the Uganda Premier League (UPL), Fufa Big League (FBL), Juniors League, Regional League, 4th (and) 5th Division League(s), Women Super League, Women Elite League, Uganda Cup, Women Cup and Futsal and Beach Soccer Leagues among others.
The football season normally ends in May, but with the 32 days ban climaxing April 20, all points to more games being condensed in a short time or the campaign stretching to later months. All that will, however, depend on the prevailing situation, then.
Basketball must adjust
The National Basketball League (NBL) was due to tip off this week. “It will definitely affect the calendar, however, we will have to reschedule the fixture and maybe make teams play at least two games a week,” said Fuba president Nasser Sserunjogi.
“We will have to play more games in a week whenever we resume. We will also give teams some time to prepare before we resume because they have called off training. We had planned to be done by September.”
Rugby for individual training
Rugby will have to do without the Nile Special Stout Rugby Premier League, Regional Leagues, and Super Schools League among others.
“While we don’t recommend team training as social distancing is advised, we recommend individual regular exercise to remain fit during this period,” said Uganda Ruby Union secretary Peter Odong.
This is for preparation in case games resume and “as science has proven, physical fitness could help anyone who might contract the infection (to) bounce back quicker.”
Motorsport is equally off the track, suspending all activities for the defined duration by the government, with National Rally Championship third round in Masaka one of those affected.
“We urge all of you to follow the health guidelines issued to avoid contracting the corona virus,” said Leila Mayanja, FMU general secretary, “We will keep monitoring the situation and inform you of any further adjustments.”
Boxing welcomes ban but…
Uganda Boxing Federation president Moses Muhangi welcomed the President’s directive for the safety of Ugandans but said “It’s very unfortunate that it’s going to cost us a lot by cancelling the events we have been preparing for.
“Clubs have incurred costs preparing for the National Intermediates, the federation has also spent on service providers for the event, which was just a week away.
“National team boxers also have to prepare for the Olympics which could be announced anytime. So we could be off-guard.”
Muhangi added: “But I encourage the boxers to keep training on their own, keep safe and avoid anything that might compromise their health. We also encourage clubs/gyms to maintain good practices and follow all the safety guidelines.”
Uganda Paralympic Committee president Bumali Mpindi says that while the travel ban to ‘risky countries’ will not affect his athletes now, they have been forced to forego three events in April.
“But even then, sports is not worth importing the virus to our country. I encourage the athletes to keep training under safety precautions.”
Uganda Netball Federation had to call off the annual East African Championships that was due tomorrow in Lugogo, as well as their U-21 Netball World Cup qualifiers preps.
“Players would be in training now, but we cannot risk calling them, but basing on the tight competition in the recently concluded National Rally and Novice championships, they are not bad,” said Susan Anek, the Netball Federation president.
What remains uncertain, like in most other areas of life affected, is what happens for casual workers that have been eking their living from these games.
THE IMPACT AT A GLANCE
Activities affected by ban / suspensions
2021 Afcon qualifying ties
Topflight and lower divisions football
Uganda Swimming Federation
Secondary Schools Gala
East Africa Netball Club Championships
World Indoor Athletics ‘- Nanjing
World Half Marathon - Holland
Africa Cross Country Championships - Lome, Togo
Africa T20 Cricket Cup
NSSF Hash Run
Chan 2019 finals
Cana Swimming Championships
Topflight and lower divisions football
National Rally Championships - Third Round
East and Central Africa Motocross Championships
World Athletics Diamond League
Africa Club Volleyball Championships
Africa Paralympics Qualifiers
National Boxing Intermediate
Mr Kampala Bodybuilding Championships
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY ELVIS SENONO, ABDUL-NASSER SSEMUGABI, MAKHTUM MUZIRANSA, REGINA NALUJJA, & DEUS BUGEMBE