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ONYANGO: Covid-19 or not, plan well there’s football after this crisis

Sunday July 26 2020
bandari_pix

Bandari defender Dan Otewa (left) vies for the ball with Kakamega Homeboyz's David Okoth during their Kenyan Premier League at KPA Mbaraki Sports Club in Mombasa on February 8, 2020. The teams drew 1-1. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT |

By PHILIP ONYANGO

It is evident that during the past five months of the Covid -19 pandemic in Kenya, sportsmen and women have developed resilience.

This, therefore, proves the assertion that sports is a major contributor to sound health. As a country, we all stand to benefit if Kenyans did sports not only for competition but also to for personal health development amd boosting immunity.

Without a doubt, coronavirus has not only brought the sporting world to its knees but it has also denied millions of fans much needed entertainment because of cancellation of competitions.

However, some countries have started easing lockdown measures and major sporting events have resumed. This was mostly done in major football leagues which re-started and are heading to a successful conclusion. 

The English Premier League, arguably one of the best leagues in the world, resumed in mid-June and concluded yesterday. Liverpool Football Club were crowned champions after a 30-year wait for the title.

In Kenya, on Friday, March 13, Football Kenya Federation (FKF) resolved to suspend the league following the confirmation of the first Covid-19 case in the country. 

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Sadly, the virus has forced us to live in a time of force majeure - circumstances that are beyond the control of the public.

Signing new players

As such, it has been vital that we alter our behaviours and dial down the “I want it, thus I’ll do it/go get it” impulse that dominates many societies across the world. 

Some clubs got very close to bankruptcy but thanks to the government through the Ministry of Sports which sent cash to individual player’s accounts to cushion them during this tough times.

Gaming firm Betika also deposited Sh5,000 directly to players’ accounts since the majority haven’t be paid their salaries.

I was particularly happy when I saw some clubs already recruiting players ahead of next season.

Champions Gor Mahia acquired the services of promoted Nairobi City Stars shot stopper Levis Opiyo as a replacement for goalkeeper Fredrick Odhiambo, who requested to be released.

AFC Leopards raided Kariobangi Sharks, sneaking out with speedy winger Harrison Mwendwa.

Bandari and Gor have raised the bar high in the Kenyan Premier league with a stellar two seasons.

But I’m worried that while K’Ogalo are already in the market scouting for top talent, things look very quiet at the Dockers.

My question is, do we have a sound plan to maintain our competitiveness? There will be football after coronavirus. 

Clubs across the globe are doing business Covid-19 notwithstanding. It’s imperative we have a sound plan for the future.

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