Drogba offers hospital for COVID-19 efforts
Former Ivorian international Didier Drogba has availed his private hospital for use as a government coronavirus facility, according to reports. The news was also posted on a Facebook page called Fans de Didier Drogba. The hospital in question, located in the city of Abidjan, is named after Ivory Coast footballer Laurent Pokou, who died in 2016. The head of Abidjan’s regional council, Vincent Toh Bi Irie, thanked Drogba for the gesture which he described as “patriotic” stressing that facility will be very useful in the fight against the virus once it is functional.
The government recently announced that 13 hospitals in Abidjan and 45 in the country will be used as COVID-19 centers. Since March 11, when the index case was reported in the West African country, the current case file stands at 574 cases, 85 recoveries and five deaths. Drogba had been in the news weeks back when he called out two French scientists for suggesting that COVID-19 vaccine trials must start in Africa. He was joined by Cameroon’s Samuel Eto’o setting off a social media backlash on the scientists. The World Health Organization, WHO, Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in responding to the scientists described their views as appalling and stressed that Africa will not be used as a vaccine testing ground.
Ethiopia’s athletic legend makes coronavirus appeal
Ethiopia’s athletics great Haile Gebrsellassie says it is important for people to obey social distancing rules as authorities do all it takes to combat the coronavirus pandemic. He shared a message on Twitter entreating people to stay at home and to remain positive that the pandemic will he history sooner than later. A transcript of his message: “Hello everyone, my name is Haile Gebrselassie. Save your family and yourself by doing your part. Nowadays, the world has a big problem. Don’t worry about the darkness of today, think about the light of tomorrow. “Do you know I have a different business, that is why I am working at home. No matter what, let us work together, we will win together, stay at home, we will beat corona, thank you.”
Gebrselassie, has brought the country a lot of glory in long-distance events had a stellar career which spanned over two decades, since 1992 when he won the 5000m and 10,000m titles at the World Junior Championships. Over the duration of his active days, he set 27 world records and 61 Ethiopian records, as well as win two Olympic gold medals and eight world titles both indoors and out. In addition to his athletics career, Haile is also a businessman and employs more than 2000 people in several businesses back home. Local media reports that he is involved in real estate projects, owns four hotels, a coffee plantation and is the distributor for Hyundai in Ethiopia. He is also a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations and is involved in tree planting and road projects. He has built several schools in his residential area.
Kenya’s Kipchoge talks about surviving COVID-19
Kenyan marathon great Eliud Kipchoge has been speaking about keeping fit whiles still observing isolation in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The world long marathon record holder encouraged those staying indoors during self-isolation to work on getting their fitness levels up, as they cope with the effects of COVID-19. His story is shared by the CGTN Africa team as below:
“I think the whole world will hopefully beat this virus in the next month and maybe May we are able to come back to our training and resume in a big way. We will win this fight against COVID-19. “just have some steps to run on, just let us keep fit. Let us keep fit both physically and mentally by reading some newspapers, be with the family, watch good movies together which helps make the days move and you get more knowledge.
CAF president’s COVID-19 statement
President of the continent’s football body, Ahmad Ahmad on Friday shared his coronavirus message which ranged from administrative measures by the body, decision on competitions and Africa’s role in combating the pandemic.
- All competitions suspended i.e. AFCON 2021 qualifiers, CHAN 2020, club competitions
- CAF 42nd General Assembly scheduled for Cameroon in April postponed
- CAF staff to work from home till end of March, staring March 20
- All decisions in interest of global safety
- World must united to combat the scourge
- Condolences to all those that have lost loved one
Africa must play its part in the fight against the virus
Cameroon suspends CHAN
The Championship of African Nations, CHAN, a CAF organized competition has been suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. The tournament was meant to take place in Cameroon in April 2020. The local organizing committee after a meeting on Tuesday (March 17) announced the decision to suspend the competition which was slated for between April 4 – 25.Cameroon currently has 10 confirmed cases of the coronavirus even though government has yet to impose restrictions on sporting events as at today.CHAN is a version of the African Cup of Nations but is reserved for players that ply their trade on the continent. The current champions are Morocco who beat Nigeria in the final of the last tournament in 2018.
Namibia’s football body had confirmed that they were withdrawing their participation from the competition. CAF last week suspended all 2021 Cup of Nations qualifiers over the pandemic. FIFA had also advised last week that all international matches be halted.
Tanzania suspends annual Uhuru torch race
Tanzania president John Magufuli announced over the weekend that an annual torch race has been suspended over the coronavirus outbreak. The president said he had taken the decision “after consulting with the Vice President and Prime Minister.” “I have decided to temporarily suspend the Uhuru torch race until coronavirus is contained. The money which was set for the race should now be directed to preparedness of the facilities for addressing possible coronavirus cases,” he said.
At the time of the statement, Tanzania had not recorded a case. On Monday, the first case was confirmed. The victim is a woman aged 46 who arrived in the country on 15th of March 2020 and was isolated Mt. Meru Hospital, reports said. The Uhuru Torch (Swahili: Mwenge wa Uhuru, literally “Torch of Freedom”) is one of the National Symbols of Tanzania. It is a kerosene torch. It symbolizes freedom and light. The 2020 edition was set to kick off from Zanzibar.
Countries suspend football leagues
Botswana and South Sudan all announced similar bans. Ethiopia has also banned public gatherings including sporting events whiles Ivory Coast has followed suit, both on Monday. Ghana became the eight African country to have its football league suspended after the president announced a ban on public gatherings on Sunday evening. Shortly after, the football association in a statement said it had suspended all football competitions across the country. “Public gatherings are banned in Ghana. Funeral gatherings shouldn’t have more than 25 people,” President Akufo-Addo announced. Algeria became the seventh African country on record to have suspended its league on Sunday. The measure forms part of nationwide lockdown on sporting competitions. Other countries that have suspended football competitions officially are: Egypt, Morocco, Kenya, DRC, Gabon, and Sudan. The South African league body said it was meeting to decide on a way forward after President Ramaphosa announced a ban on public gatherings. Meanwhile the continent’s football governing body, CAF, and the world body, FIFA, have all advised that competitive fixtures be suspended in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
Statement: FIFA recommends all international fixtures be halted
In light of the current situation concerning the Coronavirus, the Bureau of the FIFA Council has decided that the general football rules which normally oblige clubs to release players for national team matches will not apply for the up-coming international windows in March/April. The situation is rapidly evolving across the world and various international travel restrictions have already been imposed by different public authorities. FIFA understands that to hold the matches under current circumstances might not only present potential health risks to players (and to the general public) but would also, most likely, compromise the sporting integrity of such matches insofar as certain teams may be deprived of their best squads whilst others may not.
To avoid any unnecessary health risks and also situations of potential sporting unfairness, we therefore recommend that all international matches previously scheduled to take place in March and April should now be postponed until such time that they can take place in a safe and secure environment, both for players and for the general public. The final decision on this issue rests with the respective competition organisers or relevant member association in case of friendlies.