Sports in limbo

Sports in limbo

MASERU-There is confusion over who must give the green light for sports to return and as a result all sporting activities in the country are set to remain suspended for the foreseeable future.

Approached for comment this week, the Ministry of Sports said the National Emergency Command Centre (NECC) will give the go-ahead on when it is safe to return to competitive sport because it is the body dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic in Lesotho.

The NECC, however, said it takes recommendations from the government’s ministries adding it had not received any recommendation with regards to sports from its ministry.
Two weeks ago the government’s new gazette allowed for the resumption of operations of businesses, including the sale of alcohol on specified dates, but it said nothing about sports.

Athletes are currently training on their own to keep fit while football was suspended in March and remains on pause.
Last week the Lesotho Football Association (LEFA) announced the current 2019/20 season had been extended to July 31 and said its National Executive Committee (NEC) is committed to resuming football, as soon as it is safe to do so.

The LEFA urged players and match officials to begin individual training in the meantime but advised clubs to ensure their players adhere to strict safety measures.

It appears the wait for the return of sports competitions around the country will continue for a while longer.
Speaking to thepost yesterday, the sports ministry’s principal secretary, Tjoetsane Seoka, said it is not up to the ministry to announce a resumption of sporting activities because it did not postpone them.
He said the NECC mandated that sports activities be stopped and it should give the ministry authorisation to declare a return.

“(The NECC) should take responsibility, the ministry did not postpone sports, they did, and they should say when it is safe to return, not us. We will hear from them,” Seoka said.
Lesotho so far has four confirmed cases of COVID-19, two of which have recovered. No coronavirus related deaths have been recorded in the country.

If football does return it remains to be seen what safety regulations will be applied and if players will be tested.
Last week the Premier League Management Committee (PLMC) said it currently does not have the financial capacity to carry out Covid-19 testing if the Econet Premiership campaign restarts.

Across the world sports activities are resuming with neighbouring South Africa now allowing non-contact sports to begin training.

Tlalane Phahla

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