URA skipper says Covid-19 break ‘sucking players dry’

Tuesday March 24 2020
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Feeling down. Kagimu says league break due to virus attack has them feeling the pinch . Photo by John Batanude.

Coronavirus continues to bite hard and prick on all aspects of life, with Juventus’ Paulo Dybala and his girlfriend, and Italian legend Paolo Maldini and his son some of the latest sports families to test positive for the stupid bug.
Uganda also registered its first case of the global pandemic, which has seen President Museveni double up on stringent measures to contain the disease, including halting all group sporting activities until at least April 20.

The measures, any sane human will agree, are what is needed to try arrest the pandemic in its tracks, yet they have not come without almost an equal burden to livelihood.
No sports events means clubs, thousands of athletes, officials, casual workers and events managers, among others, are out of business, which is hardly the proper economic preparation to staying at home.

Feeling the brunt
Midfield player Shafik Kagimu is already feeling the brunt yet, as the URA skipper admitted, he is one of the lucky ones who is at least assured of his monthly salary from his club.
“I thank Allah because we will get our salaries,” Kagimu told Daily Monitor, “But when you think about the whole thing, as well as our brothers in other teams who might not get their salaries, it makes you want to shade tears.
“This is the only source of income we have, but we understand why the situation is the way it is.
“It’s a situation that is so heartbreaking, especially when I read about or hear of the deaths and sufferings of the people in the world; fellow sportsmen like Dybala etc.

“It shows that it’s not only happening to ‘normal’ people but even us sportsmen are affected. We cant train openly since it’s a group threatening activity nowadays.
“No movement from home to football fields, I’m now at home trying to workout since even gyms can’t be accessed because of the danger of sharing the machines.”
Kagimu was enjoying one of his decent seasons with URA, with his impressive run-outs for the Cranes during Cecafa late last year inking him in coach Johnny McKinstry’s books for the postponed Chan tournament.
“The way this coronavirus has stopped even StarTimes Uganda Premier League, the Chan tournament... is disappointing. Everything seems to have come to a standstill. May Allah see us through this.”

Kagimu and URA teammates are entitled to bonuses for wins and draws across all competitions. But with no action happening, they will settle for only monthly salaries.
Yet, that is still considered a privilege compared to what is going on in some of the other local clubs, whose players are often lucky not to find themselves three months behind on payments.
Daily Monitor will on Wednesday bring you a blow by blow account of how each of the topflight clubs are handling the financial end of their commitments during the ongoing coronavirus league suspension.