Namibia deputy sports minister Emma Kantema-Gaomas says the recently amended Covid-19 regulations and safety protocols are not meant to punish or disadvantage anyone but rather safeguard the lives of all Namibians against the deadly coronavirus.
Last Friday, health minister Kalumbi Shangula announced amendments to the government’s existing Covid-19 regulations and safety protocols, which include the ceasing of all contact sports, and the reduction of spectators from 100 to 50 per event.
Football in Namibia is one of many contact sports that have been affected by new government regulations, which officially come into effect on Sunday and will lapse on 30 June.
“At all material times, the health of the nation must come first. The regulations are not meant to be permanent. They are a response to the current variant,” said Kantema-Gaomas.
She went on to say that sport administrators should not view the new regulations as a form of punishment to contact sports, but should be viewed as part of government’s ongoing efforts of trying to save the lives of all Namibians, including those in the sporting fraternity.
“We are aware of the concerns raised by the contact sports fraternity. As we speak, we are in direct consultation with the health ministry, and any amendments to the current regulations will be communicated by the health ministry in line with the applicable statutory regulations,” explained Kantema-Gaomas.
NewEraLive reported that there has been a huge spike in the number of Covid-19 cases recorded over the last few weeks. Namibia is dealing with 3 923 active Covid-19 cases, and almost 850 coronavirus-related deaths have so far been recorded countrywide.
Most recently, the Namibia Football Association (NFA) voiced their displeasure with the banning of contact sports by government, saying the move has put their leagues and various planned competitions in jeopardy.
NFA secretary-general, Franco Cosmos, said the association has asked for an audience with the line ministry and other stakeholders with the hope of finding a way to allow football to continue.
“We have the transitional season underway and it’s very advanced, and we also have the MTC NFA Cup that has progressed. It will be a blow for the projects and the players if we have to stop now. Therefore, we are engaging government to see what possible solution can we have, mindful of the seriousness of Covid-19,” said Cosmos.
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By FARPost Reporter