SPORTS, that for over a century, promoted multiracial friendship, harmony and sportsmanship came to abrupt halt on its place reigned self-isolation, lockdown and ‘no-handshake’ as part of efforts towards the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.
Coronavirus scourge is making the world fall apart as fear and panic ravage the whole mankind today. The evening is no longer splendid in Tanzania, whose sporting culture is gripped by Simba-Young Africans traditional rivalry.
As the most adored persons sportsmen and women have been engaged in the campaign to fight against the spread of the pandemic by clearly elaborating to the mankind, how best to combat the spread of it and keep themselves and others safe from infection.
Taifa Stars and Aston Villa forward, Mbwana Samatta, is among players who has joined the rest of the world in gallant fight against the Coronavirus (COVID-19), pandemic.
Samatta message warns and urges Tanzanians to strictly adhere to the government and health experts’ directives if they want to stay safe and free from the deadly virus.
Samatta admitted that life without playing football was difficult, although he insisted self-isolation was important to protect people’s health.
He stressed the essence of keeping fit even without team training at a time the entire world is battling to tame the spread of the Coronavirus. He stressed on the role and responsibility of every citizen in Tanzania to look after each other, insisting that people must always wash their hands well with soap and water and use sanitizers.
“It is also very important for every one of us to avoid handshakes, cover our mouth and nose while sneezing and keep a distance from one another,” he said.
Due to coronavirus pandemic, the English Premier League player said he is following closely all advices given by government and health authorities in England, including self-isolation at home.
“I’m good and ok at home in Birmingham…this is the second biggest city in England after London and already, many cases have been reported here. “All I can do, is try as much as possible to protect myself and my family from COVID-19, it is somewhat tricky to prevent, but better try because prevention is better than cure,” he said.
“I take time to play with children, watch television and skip rope to burn calories. I am strictly following the training guidelines that were also given to me by coach. It is not that easy without playing football. I love football, it is my life so it is difficult for me, but we have to follow instructions,” he said.
African players have also united in the fight against coronavirus. Most notably was a group of African football legends who have come together for a short video for the #Safehands and #Nohandshake challenge as part of efforts towards the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.
The 98-seconds video is collage shot by the players in their respective locations emphasizing on the importance of washing hands and avoiding handshake, critical to the battle against COVID-19, which has brought the entire world to a halt.
Representing various generations, and led by CAF Deputy General Secretary, Anthony Baffoe, they include the following; - Roger Milla, Joseph Antoine Bell (Cameroon), Herita Ilunga, Tresor Lomana Lualua (DR Congo), El Hadji Diouf , Alassane N’Dour, Khalilou Fadiga, Diomansy Kamara (Senegal), Mustafa El Haddaoui (Morocco) and Jean Ssenide (Uganda) Also involved in making it were Wael Gomaa (Egypt), Fatau Dauda (Ghana) and Vincent Enyeama (Nigeria).
The likes of Diouf and Lualua spoke in their local dialects, Wolof and Lingala, for their natives, whilst Ugandan Ssenide is the only female.
Like what other megastars did, the steps for the #Safehands challenge as outlined in the video is as follows; 1:Apply soap 2:Lather your hands well with soap 3: Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds 4: Rinse your hands under clean water and 5: Dry your hands using a clean towel.
As a result of COVID-19, CAF has suspended all competitions until further notice and remain in constant with partners such as the World Health Organisation, FIFA among others in the fight against the menace. It was good to see other countries where footballers and musicians donated money and released songs in an effort to raise awareness on the virus.
Stars like former Cameroon and Barcelona player Samuel Eto’o have also joined the fight against Covid-19 in Africa. They have been on the frontline of the fight against coronavirus in Africa, reaching not just for social media to spread awareness of the dangers of the virus but also for the cheque book.
Among the first to step up was Senegalese winger Sadio Mane — a key player in Liverpool’s push for the English Premier League title this year — who donated 30 million CFA francs ($50,000) to his country’s National Medical Commission to fight the deadly microbe.
In Ivory Coast, former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba gave masks to the cathedral of Abidjan, with the warning: “My sisters, my brothers, I ask you to take the matter very seriously... we tend to be too light about our reactions to the situation.”
On his side Eto’o wrote; “My African brothers and sisters! Corona Virus has taken over our lives with malice, arrogance and without notice.” “It knows neither race, religion nor political parties. It kills the rich and the poor. Even in countries where research is done well, the consequences are disastrous. Unpredictable.”
Eto’o spent most of his playing career in Spain. “For all these reasons my brothers, sisters, dear parents, I ask you to respect the instructions given by the authorities of our countries and the World Health Organisation.”
Affected after Asia and Europe, sub-Saharan Africa has recorded only 1,642 cases and around 20 deaths. The continent, however, fears a lightning-like spread that would overwhelm its already fragile health structures.
In South Africa, the most affected country on the continent, Springbok rugby captain Siya Kolisi released a couple of videos online showing himself at home with his children, adhering to the isolation regulations laid down by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
“Stay safe, stay strong, let’s fight this together,” he said.