Coronavirus arena: Drogba avails hospital for use as govt screening facility

This piece will focus on the impact on sports given a raft of incidents that have been undertaken.

The coronavirus epidemic continues to disrupt life across the world. The disruption is much lesser in African countries that have recorded cases as compared to for example Italy where the entire country is almost in a lockdown. Most countries have banned all sporting competitions.



Our main coronavirus hub is seized with major developments around the epidemic. This piece will focus on the impact on sports given a raft of incidents that have been undertaken.



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





Zimbabwe suspends cricket





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.





CAF to go ahead with competitive fixtures





CAF to go ahead with competitive fixtures



While the World Health Organization has declared that the coronavirus has moved from epidemic to pandemic status, more worrying than ever, the Confederation of African Football has decided to maintain the programming of all its competitions, namely, the qualifiers for the CAN 2021 scheduled for 25-31 March, and the CHAN 2020 to be held from 4 to 25 April.



A decision taken on the basis of daily reports from the WHO, which prove that no African country to date has been declared high risk contrary to the evolution of COVID-19 worldwide. 



Present in a dozen countries of the continent with 111 confirmed cases, the pandemic is advancing at chameleon-like pace in Africa while there are more than 100,000 confirmed cases worldwide with thousands of deaths.



Some countries, such as Kenya, have travel restrictions in place for sportsmen and women, which for sure could reduce the participation of some key days that national teams might need to win matches during the qualifiers for the AFCON 2021. Under these conditions, is it still possible to organise these competitions?



The spread of the Coronavirus in recent days has compelled several countries on the continent affected by the COVID-19 to take drastic measures.



This is the case of Algeria, which has cancelled all public events, especially sports. Morocco has decreed that all future football matches will be held behind closed doors. The same goes for Egypt.



Statement: Kenya Athletics issues directives



Following a directive from the GOK (Government of Kenya) and due to the global outbreak of the Covid-19 virus, AK has suspended all clearance and travel to international events for athletes & athlete support personnel until further notice.



In a bid to safeguard the athletes and consequently the country from the virus, we urge all athletes to cancel travel arrangements for the next one month pending further communication. We apologize for any inconveniences caused.



Statement: World Football Summit postponed due to coronavirus outbreak



In the light of the ‘COVID-19’ outbreak, which has been officially declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), we have been forced to take the difficult decision to postpone the celebration of WFS Africa, scheduled for March 17-18 in Durban, South Africa.



After closely monitoring the evolving coronavirus outbreak and assessing the risk to our visitors, we have concluded, together with the provincial government of KwaZulu-Natal, our Main Partner, that this is the only way to guarantee the well-being of all our visitors.



During the last few months we have strived to put together an event of the caliber that the African football industry deserves. We were extremely excited with our first-ever African summit and looking forward to welcoming the continent’s most relevant leaders and stakeholders. This decision is heart-breaking for the WFS team.



We want to thank all our speakers, business partners, exhibitors, delegates and members of the media for your enthusiastic support and apologize for any inconvenience. We would also like to underline the solid leadership demonstrated by the South African government and the crucial guidance provided by our Main Partner, the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government.



We look forward to continue growing our partnership in order to build the best possible platform for the African football industry to meet. We will keep monitoring the situation closely while exploring options to reschedule WFS Africa for July-August 2020 depending on the global evolution of the outbreak. Further details will be confirmed as soon as possible.



March 11: FIFA reschedules Congress in Ethiopia



Football’s world governing body, FIFA, has rescheduled its 70th Congress that was scheduled for May 2020 at the African Union’s headquarters in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. The event has been moved to September 2020 in Addis Ababa.



An official FIFA statement issued on Wednesday (March 11) read in part: “On account of the spread of COVID-19, numerous international bodies and public health authorities have advised against the organisation of international events.



“Concerns over the health and well-being of participants, as well as travel restrictions in many countries, have resulted in the cancellation or postponement of many such events in various parts of the world.



“Mindful of this, and given the wish of FIFA to organise a Congress which all member associations are able to attend, the Bureau of the FIFA Council has decided to reschedule the 70th FIFA Congress from Friday 5 June 2020 to Friday 18 September 2020 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.”



In June 2019, FIFA announced Addis Ababa as host of the gathering of world football governing body’s supreme legislative body, the FIFA Congress. The announcement was made at the end of the 69th Congress which took place in the French capital, Paris.



“In addition, the FIFA Council meeting planned for Friday 20 March 2020 has also been rescheduled to a date yet to be confirmed in June-July 2020 at the Home of FIFA in Zurich or via video conference,” the statement concluded.



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CAF releases nearly CFA120 million for member states

CAF has issued out cheque of more than 6,393 million CFA francs for its association members.

After FIFA, CAF has issued out cheques for its association members. The continental football body will urgently release more than 6,393 million CFA francs. Each federation will receive nearly 120 million. A subsidy to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic.

The health situation is still worrisome and is disrupting the whole of African football. Some championships have come to a standstill, others are waiting without being really sure when to resume.

And in the face of this crisis, FIFA is stepping up its initiatives to support the recovery of the world’s leagues. A risk assessment tool has been made available to the Confederations and Federations to ensure the safety of the players. More details to follow in this programme, coming up just after this short break

Nigeria's Ighalo on 'lockdown' at Man United till January 2021

Man United made an official announcement via a statement posted on its website.

Nigerian international Odion Ighalo’s loan to Manchester United has been extended until January 2021. The club made an official announcement via a statement posted on its website.

The news ends widespread speculations that he was due to return to his parent club Shanghai Shenhua with the expiry of his contract.

His contract was initially due to end on 31 May but he will now remain with the Reds until 31 January 2021, enabling him to build an impressive start to life with the club he supported as a boy.

Ighalo had pushed to stay but the Chinese club appeared adamant till now. The club have now accepted United’s conditions to extend the loan.

Earlier today, he posted a photo with the caption: “Happy new month Fams.” He has in his time at Old Trafford, played eight games, scored four times and provided an assist.

Fans on social media are celebrating the extension for the first Nigerian to feature for the club which is widely supported across Africa’s most populous nation.

Kenya's David Rudisha undergoes ankle surgery

Since 2016, Rudisha has competed sporadically. He only raced four times in 2017, and did not compete in 2018, 2019 or 2020. He hopes to compete at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

Two-time Olympic 800-meter champion David Rudisha underwent surgery on his left ankle on Thursday after fracturing it while walking on uneven ground at his home in Kilgoris in rural Narok County, Kenya, last week.

“The surgery was carried out by Kenyan team doctor and orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Victor Bargoria,” reported Rudisha’s manager, Michel Boeting of one4one Sports in the Netherlands.

He continued: “During a walk on the compound the 31-year-old stepped on uneven ground, and initially believed it was not a serious injury. He continued with exercises that wouldn’t cause further harm to his ankle but after a lack of improvement over the weekend, he underwent an examination and was diagnosed with an ankle fracture at St. Luke’s hospital in Eldoret.”

Boeting says that Rudisha will be out of training for 12 to 16 weeks.

Rudisha won his first Olympic title in London in 2012 in what many consider to be the greatest 800-meter race ever held. Running from the front, he set a new world record of 1:40.91, a mark which still stands nearly eight years later.

Rudisha was able to defend his title in Rio in 2016, running his fastest time of the year of 1:42.15, beating Algeria’s Taoufik Makhloufi by nearly half a second.

Since 2016, Rudisha has competed sporadically. He only raced four times in 2017, and did not compete in 2018, 2019 or 2020. He hopes to compete at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

Agencies

Rwanda, Gambia quit as Burundi resumes [Football Planet]

End of the season on mainland with the list getting longer.

End of the season on mainland with the list getting longer. The Gambia and Rwanda quit after more than two months. Meanwhile, Burundi has resumed and Tanzania is expected to follow soon.

The African transfer market is under threat over COVID-19 and fears of a financial crisis. The stoppage of competitions is a hard blow for clubs, footballers and player representatives. We speak to a players’ agent, Adama Ndiaye.

And will the 2022 Worlc Cup in Qatar be as attractive as hoped? Qatari authorities are trying to reassure the world. They’ve promised an affordable World Cup, despite the high cost of living in the emirate.

Our Wahany Johnson Sambou has the details of these and more on this week’s edition of Football Planet.

CAF begins early payments to 32 clubs featuring on continental fixtures

Good news to the clubs featuring this season in African interclub. CAF decided to pay the quotas earlier than expected

Caf release funds to respective clubs

Good news to the clubs featuring this season in African interclub. CAF decided to pay the quotas earlier than expected. A great relief to the teams facing uncertainty linked to the Covid-19.

CAF will soon meet to discuss precisely on the possibility of a continuation of the season.

Senegalese league to resume in November

Senegal is determined to continue the already suspend league to the end of the season. The Federation has scheduled a return to competition in November after a unanimous decision.

Ajax crowned player of the year

The Moroccan striker has been named the Ajax player of the season for the third consecutive year. A nice farewell gift before joining Chelsea this summer.