By Eric Oteng
The coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt sporting calendars around the world and Africa in particularly. Last week, the Confederation of African Football – Caf issued a press release stating that it was maintaining the organisation of all its competitions on the continent despite the threat of COVID-19.
But the continued spread of the disease on the continent has forced Caf as well other continental sporting bodies to act.
Only a few days after this declaration, the coronavirus pandemic has caused a reversal of the situation by compelling CAF to postpone the qualifying rounds of Afcon 2021 which was scheduled to take place on March 25 to 31.
A day after Caf announced this decision; the Organising Committee of Chan 2020 in Cameroon also decided to postpone the competition to a later date. Chan 2020 was scheduled to start from April 4-25.
The confinement of populations in many countries limits the regrouping of teams and officials. The closure of borders and the suspension of airlines makes it difficult for delegations to travel. Moreover, the spread of the disease in majority of countries that have qualified for Chan 2020 was also factor that led to the postponement of the competition to a yet to be determined date based on the evolution of the situation.
Apart from the continental competitions, national competitions have also been suspended. This is the case of Congo, for example, which has suspended all national championships, including the Congo Cup, which should take place in the coming weeks.
Neither health authorities nor the football world know when the pandemic will be brought under control. So the burning question on the lips of most football lovers is, what will the federations do about the teams involved in championships midway through the season which have now been suspended?
If you look closely, the coronavirus pandemic has no limits. In Europe, more than a dozen professional football players have been affected by COVID-19.
A number of players and clubs have been making financial donations in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. This is the case, for example, of Sadio Mané, who donated approximately 45,000 euros to Senegalese authorities to help in the fight against COVID-19. The total number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Senegal has reached 27, but two patients have recovered from the disease, according to the Ministry of Health.
In Germany, where 6,012 confirmed cases have been reported, players of the national team have offered 2.5 million euros to help in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, have also sent out messages of encouragement.
In Italy, the European country most affected by the coronavirus, donations continue to pour in very quickly, and in greater numbers. Inter Milan and AC Milan have donated 100,000 and 250,000 euros, respectively, to help in the search for a vaccine and provide additional material resources for the health emergency in their regions.
Paul Pogba has launched a fundraising campaign on his Facebook page in collaboration with Unicef to combat the pandemic on his 27th birthday.
Initiatives such as these show how informed players are about the impact of the pandemic on individuals and families.