Outspoken Uganda Cranes legend David Obua strongly believes continued lockdown of sports activities in the country is not the way to go as the battle against the Coronavirus pandemic carries on.
There has been no sporting action since mid-March when President Museveni instituted measures to control the spread of the global pandemic.
Uganda, which did not register any death until July – standing at seven fatalities by press time – has now recorded just over 1,000 cases, with most having shaken off the virus.
But with improved awareness and understanding that we might have to live with disease for a foreseeable future, and with several activities and sporting action resuming elsewhere in the world, there have been calls to focus on Standard Operation Procedures (SOPs) and restart Ugandan sport, too.
“In spite of the unfortunate realities of Covid-19,” Obua, the highly regarded former Cranes winger, added his voice to increasing calls for resuming sports.
“I’d wish for African countries to find a way through consultations, naturally through the ministries of health, to have our football leagues getting back gradually. I hope it’s not done (too) late which can affect team preparations.”
From Onyango’s chest
The former Uganda Cranes international, who tweeted his prayers, was speaking just a day after national team captain Denis Onyango made the same pleas.
Onyango, who played his first competitive match in almost five months as Mamelodi Sundowns edged Bitvest Wits in the Nedbank Cup at the weekend, thanked government and Ugandans for their efforts in combating the pandemic.
“But at the same time, my humble appeal goes to government to look at measures that will enable sports activities to resume soon,” he told this newspaper.
“In Uganda’s case, I think the deaths have been few and the infection has not been so high. Sports employs a lot of people and a lot of youths play football. Sports in general has not been mentioned anywhere in the President’s speeches,” Onyango added.
Sports drafts SOPs
The National Council of Sports (NCS) and Uganda Olympic Committee (UOC) first mooted the roadmap for sports resumption by coordinating national associations to formulate SOPs more than a month ago.
And just last week, in the aftermath of Sports Hamson Obua and Fufa president Moses Magogo meeting with the Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda, President Museveni signalled some greenlight for sports activities to return behind closed doors.
“I welcome the positive suggestions like the idea of sports without audiences that have been tried in other countries of Europe,” Museveni posted on his various social media pages on Thursday.
“Any activity that can be opened safely, with SOPs, will be opened. I am one of the people most interested in good economic performance. However, economic performance should never be more important than lives.”
Several national competitions ended prematurely because of the measures, while some like basketball cancelled the entire season before it even started.