insidesport:with MICHAEL KARIATI
THERE is currently no end in sight the suspension of football activities in Zimbabwe and the sport is expected to remain in the cold room until probably sometime next year.
For those who did not believe it, Covid-19 is real, and wreaking havoc in all the four corners of the country, so bringing back the game right now would be a huge risk not only for the players and the fans, but also for the Zimbabwean public as a whole.
In fact, taking a look at what Covid-19 is doing right now, even non-contact sports like tennis, horse racing, cricket and swimming should not have been allowed to return to the fields and the courts in the first place.
Although statistics do not show this — for reasons which we do not know — Covid-19-related deaths and infections are on the increase and if football is allowed to come back, this could turn out to be an added contributing factor to the statistics.
Fine, everyone likes entertainment and, more importantly, from football, but luxury cannot be at the risk of people’s lives especially considering the high increase in the loss of lives.
Yes, debate on who will be the next Castle Lager Premier Soccer League champions is alive even under this coronavirus threat, but the answer to that question should only be allowed to come next year.
Even in countries like Zambia where football had returned, the soccer programme had to be cut short after realising that they had decided too early to resume action.
The game in Zambia, which had initially been called off in March, resumed on July 18, but had to end prematurely with the match between Zanaco and Forest Rangers cancelled after 28 Rangers players and officials tested positive for coronavirus.
Prior to that, 15 players and four officials of Napsa Stars Football Club had also tested positive, making it difficult for the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) to continue with fixtures.
Even playing in empty stadiums as they are doing in Europe did not help the Zambian cause and the game has disappeared again and the likes of Evans Rusike, Evans Katema, Donald Teguru, Thabani Kamusoko and Joel Ngodzo would once again be trooping back home.
What is interesting is that Zimbabwe is debating whether to restart the game when the situation in this country in terms of Covid-19 precautionary measures is worse than that of Zambia.
What is important is to learn from that FAZ experience and come to our senses that the situation is not ripe for Cranborne Bullets, Bulawayo City, Hwahwa and Tenax to make their appearance in the Premiership.
We cannot look at Europe and say football and sport is happening there because the environment and the financial situation in those countries is far much different from ours.
There are also other factors to look at with regard to the whole football matter. Our clubs do not have the money to pay for coronavirus testing and there are also questions as to whether there are enough testing kits for football.
Right now, our clubs are failing to pay their players and the question is: Will they be able to pay salaries, manage accommodation and transport costs and also be able to pay for the match venues when they do not have income? The answer is a big NO.
We might like our Ngezi Platinum Stars, our ZPC Kariba, our Manica Diamonds, our Chicken Inn, Harare City, Black Rhinos, Triangle, Herentals and Yadah, but now is not the time for action.
For now, we should wait and see what happens with Covid-19 before we can talk of whether FC Platinum will make it four years in a row or whether CAPS United, Dynamos and Highlanders would be able to stop them.