African football was not exempt from the coronavirus pandemic. Having suffered the same faith as major European leagues, Africa’s football was not exempt from the Covid-19 pandemic. African football competitions were also put to a halt with many questions arising around it.
And while some competitions, such as Bundesliga, are set to resume, CAF president Ahmad Ahmad was adamant that African football ‘must wait’ for the outbreak to be put under control before any football can return.
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) officially suspended play in March as the coronavirus situation got complicated across the African continent.
Africa has already experienced vicious pandemics such as the Ebola outbreak in 2014 and past experiences mean Africa is fighting the novelty virus differently compared to other countries around the globe.
“The whole world is facing a very important health crisis, and every country on the continent of Africa has its own way of dealing with it.”
“We have taken to stop football activities altogether. Our priority is first and foremost health, protecting players, protecting officials, and protecting the public,” Ahmad commented in an interview with Deutsche Welle.
The lack of football has affected sports fans and punters alike, with many online bookmakers in Africa suffering as well. However, as the wellbeing of people across the continent comes first, football is likely to be set for a break much longer than initially expected.
Different Scenarios in Place
And while the resumption of football is being mulled and whispered about, African countries are looking at alternative ways of finishing current football seasons.
National competitions need to solve the current campaigns before plans for new seasons can be made and the Africa Cup of Nations 2021 host Cameroon has opted to cancel its domestic football season. Following a video meeting within the Cameroon Football Federation (FECAFOOT) Executive Committee, a decision to declare PWD Bamenda as champions has been made on Tuesday.
PWD Bamenda led the table with 47 points to their name after 28 matches before the mid-March football suspension. Despite being only promoted to the top flight in 2018, PWD Bamenda have risen to the limelight, becoming the first club from the English-speaking part of the country to lift the domestic title in the last eleven years.
The scenario under which PWD Bamenda would go on to win the league in the 2019/20 season had been deemed unlikely by many football fans and supporters in the country, but avid punters will remember that top betting sites in Nigeria had offered a great price on the club from the Northwest Region before the suspension.
Unlike Cameroon, the South African football governing bodies are taking a different approach.
The South African Football Association (Safa) and Premier Soccer League (PSL) administration met on Tuesday in Nasrec to discuss a way to resume football amidst the coronavirus. And while the PSL pushed for the resumption, Safa maintained their stance that football can return only when South Africa reached Level 1 of the lockdown.
In the conclusion of the meeting, a task team has been formed to look at the potential date for the return of the 2019/20 football season. However, as things stand at the moment, football fans and punters will wait until at least the end of May before new conclusions can be made.
Despite different approaches towards solving the current football hiatus, the African football family has displayed great solidarity.
Governing bodies across the continent have shown great commitment and awareness in relation to the wellbeing of the African people, while many former footballers such as Samuel Eto’o, Didier Drogba, as well as the continent’s biggest stars like Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane have made significant contributions to fight the pandemic.
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