The former Chairman of the Lagos State Sports Commission, Dr. Kweku Tandoh, has suggested that sports cannot fully resume in Nigeria until the COVID-19 pandemic has been properly contained.
There has been talk recently of the National Sports Festival, which was initially scheduled for March but was postponed because of the virus outbreak, being held later in the year, while there has been a heated debate on whether the Nigeria Professional Football League should resume or be cancelled.
Tandoh, a medical doctor and experienced sports administrator, however believes that the resumption of sports is dependent on how the country handles the pandemic.
“Resumption of sporting activities is not up to us in the sports sector,” Tandoh told New Telegraph on Wednesday. “It depends on the situation in the entire country. There can be no predictions about when it’s safe to return. The cases of the virus are rising at the moment despite the best efforts of those on the frontlines and it has not reached its peak yet. It could take a very long time before we’re ready to return.
“Even when numbers start to reduce and there is a decrease in the spread of the virus, it still might not be time to resume sports. You know coronavirus protocols — use of face masks, physical distancing and so on — are mostly contrary to sporting activities which usually involve contact, and these are factors we have to consider.”
In spite of high incidences of the virus still in Europe, the football leagues in England, Spain and Italy have resumed. Tandoh advises that for the NPFL to be back, the medical and safety protocols put in place in those countries must be present in Nigeria.
On the sports festival, Tandoh said: “There is nothing wrong in planning ahead and being prepared for when it will be safe to hold the event. No date has been fixed yet and no decision as regards timing.”