Covid-19’s impact on sports

14 June 2021 | Sports

Limba Mupetami

The effects of Covid-19 continue to flow through Namibia’s health, educational, financial, and commercial institutions and the sport sector is no different.

Matches and competitions have been cancelled or postponed for this month as the number of deaths continue to rise, disrupting sport’s governing bodies, organisers, teams and athletes — as well as the live sports content we have come to expect.

At this moment in time, broadcasters and sponsors are trying to navigate the impacts and implications of event cancellations.

I think this is a very confusing time for many. Football rugby, boxing, netball and horse racing pull large crowds and at this moment in time, many organisers are trying to manage fan expectations. Some don’t even haven’t the funds to hire companies to shoot events live for fans to watch online. There is simply no money left.

Covid has surely left many out of their comfort zones, pushing them into an era where they need to think of ways to minimise operational disruption, and plan for a future that, in both the short and long term, may not look anything like the past.

I’m not sure whether Namibia was ready for this push, but we are here now and with the pandemic looking likely to be with us for some time, the entire sports ecosystem will need new ways to deal with threats to financial and business continuity arising from disrupted cash flows.

Many questions have arisen from this, with no one sure as to whether some industries will even recover at all.

For sports fans across the country, the resumption of the regular sports calendar for a period of time signalled a step toward post-pandemic normality. But for the athletes participating, whether professionally or for recreational purposes, unanswered questions remain.

I for one want to know if there are any Covid complications which might arise from exercising during Covid infection as well as after infection. Is there a possibility that one may suffer heart failure?

Is the virus in any way capable of putting anyone at risk for lifelong complications and death? These are just some of the questions I have, however trivial they might be.

Many questions really at the moment for everyone. But you know what, despite the uncertainty created by Covid-19, I must really say that the last two weeks have been very good in Namibian sport.

A sure sign that with a bit of effort and hard work, athletes can excel.

It started off with Peter Shalulile winning two accolades at the PSL Awards in South Africa. Shalulile scored 15 goals in the league this campaign, won the coveted PSL Player of the Season award and also bagged the PSL Players' Player award. He also lifted the Premier League trophy with his club Mamelodi Sundowns.

Deon Hotto took the MTN8 Last Man standing award on the same night. Their efforts and wins certainly show that with a bit of hard work and luck, there are possibilities out there.

This truly had Namibians beating their chests with pride. President Hage Geingob even congratulated the two footballers.

Then young sprint sensation Christine Mboma broke a 200 m record in Prague, followed in third by her countrywoman Beatrice Masilingi.

Both these athletes surely have the Namibian nation talking, thus planting seeds of confidence that they have what it takes to cause an upset very soon at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Then the women’s national cricket team reached the final of the Kwibuka T20 tournament in Rwanda. A proud moment indeed for the country.

Also, the Rehoboth town council gave Luketz Swartbooi, a former distance runner, a plot and named a street after him. He joined the likes of Frank Fredericks, Berlin Augumeb, Mohammed Ouseb, Gerros Uri-Khob and Johanna Benson who all have streets and parks named after them. So, yes there is uncertainty, but let’s just try our best to protect ourselves and one another.

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