from DION HENRICK in Cape Town, South Africa
CAPE TOWN – THE raging coronavirus (COVID-19) has again gotten the better of sport in the continent after Rugby Africa (RA) cancelled all competitions for the rest of the year.
Rugby Africa is hopeful competitions will resume in 2021.
The continental rugby mother body said the decision to cancel followed an assessment of the pandemic’s impact on the sports industry, with bans on travel and public gatherings among restrictions imposed by governments to curtail the spread of the virus.
RA noted that not all African nations will lift restrictions at the same time.
In addition, potential quarantine requirements could require some players to spend much longer periods abroad.
Dr Elvis Tano, head of the RA Medical Committee, said it was not feasible to resume competitions in the short term.
“The health and safety of our players, fans, staff, partners and local communities remains our top priority,” he added.
“There is still too much uncertainty what course the pandemic will take over the next few weeks to feel confident about resuming competition.”
Although the official 2020 competition schedule has been called off, RA reiterated its support cross-border matches or sub-regional tournaments organised by federations where possible in 2020.
Andrew Owor, the RA Vice President, said this was one of the most difficult decisions the organisation has ever made.
“We clearly had plenty of reasons to resume the 2019-20 season but considering the exceptional situation, we must prioritise our community’s health first and foremost,” Owor said.
COVID-19 has brought continental sport to a standstill.
Among other competitions cancelled include the African Nations Championships that was scheduled for Cameroon in April as well as the Africa Cup of Nations 2021 and World Cup 2022 qualifiers.
– CAJ News