Still a long way to go before play can resume

Although the government has given the green light for limited sporting activity, its unlikely that organised sport will take place any time soon.
With some lockdown regulations being lifted, sports people are slowly gearing up to get back in action.

The past three months must’ve been an endless timeout for many, as all sporting activity came to an abrupt end due to Covid-19.

However, there is a tiny spark of light at the end of the proverbial tunnel with sports, arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa making some allowances for professional sports men and women to resume training.

With further easing of lockdown regulations announced by president Cyril Ramaphosa recently, more opportunity now exists for sports administrators to put plans in motion for when clubs eventually return to the field.

As expected, sports organisations will have to have Covid-readiness plans in place to ensure complaince as per government regulations Sentinel spoke to various administrators across the city who indicated they were ready to take to the field as long as the City had its house – in this case sports fields – in order.

Collegians RFC chairman Armien Brink emphasised that, in a nutshell, facility management committees (FMC) should be on their toes.

Gerald Kemp is the chairperson of the Strandfontein Sports Complex Facility Management Committee.

He said the greater municipality, not just FMCs, was duty-bound to ensure that the sports facilities were ready when needed.

“We asked the City to sanitise the sports field as soon as the homeless people are removed.

So, at the moment, we don’t have access to the facility. We’ve been in contact with the City’s Mayoral committee member for community services and health, Dr Zahid Badroodien and we are waiting for feedback from the City,” he said.

“At the moment, there is little we can do, until they remove all the structures.”

Across the road, in Marcus Garvey, Philippi, baseball and netball coach Nelson Maphika sings the same song.

He is a juniors’ baseball coach for Chukker Road-based Battswood as well as Western Province.

A few weeks before the president announced the lockdown, Maphika was busy packing his bags. He was getting ready to take a baseball coaching “gig” in Sweden.

“The lockdown brought everything to a standstill,” he said. “It’s almost like going backwards.”

Despite that setback, Maphika said, he accepted the reality, and was looking forward to the future.

“Sitting down and complaining is not going to help us. That is why we decided to form a fitness group in Marcus Garvey,” he said.

“We want to keep youngsters fit and, of course, interested in the sport. We make sure we do that within the confines of social distancing so that everyone is safe,” Maphika said.

He also noted that he doesn’t think that baseball players should be rushed back to the diamond, just for the sake of it.

“I am aware that some sporting codes, especially overseas, are back on track. My advice is that we shouldn’t do things because they are doing them in Europe. Those guys have the equipment facilities to monitor the sport. The same cannot be said about a place like Marcus Garvey,” he said. 

Western Cape Baseball Federation executive member, Warren Manshon said they have factored in the dos and don’ts from the international and national boards.

Manshon said baseball and softball were considered semi-professional sports and the season usually started at the beginning of October and ran until the end of March in the country.

Training and playing grounds for baseball are controlled by the City of Cape Town. Due to the level 3 regulations, they are currently closed until the restrictions are lifted.

“Once we are in level two perhaps we can get back to playing. We are dependent on the City’s facilities. Should the guidelines bee like in golf and other sports,” he said Manshon said although it was technically still off-season, later this year, the under-15 and under-23 national teams were going to take part in the World Champs.

However, the dates were postponed to curb the spread of the virus.

Founder and chairman of Belinda Kings FC, Sibusiso Nkosi, says the Montana based club plays in the Nyanga Local Football Association.

“The new proclaimed regulations are good for our health and safety although we are still trying to adjust to new Covid-19 training programmes,” said Nkosi.

In response to concerns regarding the return to sports activity, Dr Badroodien, ensured everyone involved that the City had things under control.

He reminded the public that one of their responsibilities, as the municipality, was to ensure that everyone follows the Covid-19 protocols as published in the national regulations when using its facilities.

“Under Alert Level 3 Lockdown Regulations, sport and recreation facilities remain closed to members of the public,” he said.