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Coronavirus freezes local sport

26 Mar, 2020 - 00:03 0 Views
Coronavirus freezes local sport Ngonidzashe Makusha

The Herald

Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter

THE curtain is set to come down quietly on Castle Lager Premier Soccer League transfer window next Tuesday as clubs go into a complete lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The pandemic has left the Zimbabwean sport landscape in a complete state of disarray after many events were either cancelled or postponed.

Normally, activity should be at its peak as the PSL clubs wind up their pre-season preparations.

But, this year has been different.

The clubs have shut down business and ordered players to stay home for the sake of their safety.

Under normal circumstances, the PSL office should be a hive of activity as clubs try to beat the deadline to register their squads and the last-minute new signings.

But, as things keep getting worse, the PSL office have remained open but with limited number of visitors allowed at their premises.

The situation is likely to be like that for the next two months following a 60-day Government ban on sporting activities.

“The window will close on March 31. It has been open since January and we have been in constant communication with the clubs.

“They are currently in the process of registering players and I don’t think the lockdown will affect the processes since the information is sent online,” said PSL spokesperson, Kudzai Bare.

The clubs are obliged, under contract, to pay the players and staff during the period of inactivity.

On the global scale, football has suffered the brunt of the coronavirus lockdown.

The Warriors were supposed to play Algeria this weekend in back to back AFCON qualifiers but the games have been put on ice across the continent.

But, football is not the only sport that has been affected in Zimbabwe.

Swimming, athletics, rugby, cricket, karate, schools sports, basketball, golf, body-building, boxing and many others have also suffered a similar fate. Sprinter Ngoni Makusha said the lockdown left his Olympics dream in tatters.

The speedster was recently forced to abandon his preparations for the Tokyo Olympics qualifiers following a Government decree banning all sporting events.

“This has been a very difficult time for everyone,” he said.

“I was in South Africa recently, before the coronavirus outbreak got serious, but I was forced by the situation to come back home.

‘’ Yet I was supposed to be there, training until April 19.

“It’s so sad because I was really starting to get in top form. I ran a time of 20.75s in the 200m and then 20.69, which shows I was getting better and better (Olympic qualification time is 20.24s).

“But all the remaining events were cancelled.’’ The Olympics have been moved to next year.

Zimbabwe Aquatic Union president, Mary Kloppers, said they were forced to abandon the local swimming season at its peak.

“We were heading towards the end of our season and a lot of our swimmers were set for South Africa, where they get more competition, but this has been stopped.

‘’What it means is that our season ended in anti-climax.

“It’s sad for the athletes. They have been training for several months. They were now pushing towards their best times but everything has been frozen.

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