Women’s sport is taking a knock at the beginning of 2021 as a host of sports federations in South Africa opt to halt activities following a resurgence in COVID-19 cases in the country.
Over the past week, Netball South Africa President, Ms Cecilia Molokwane, and her Executive Committee took a unanimous decision to suspend all planned netball activities until further notice with immediate effect from Friday, 8 January 2021.
Postponed activities include the Under 21 training camp which was scheduled for 11 – 15 January 2021, and the SPAR Challenge in Cape Town between 20 and 27 January 2021.
“As the country continues to see COVID-19 numbers rising, it is very scary seeing what is going on around us. We see numbers rising and these numbers are names of people that we know,” Molokwane said.
“As an Executive, it was very important for us to take a decision to postpone all our planned activities until further notice. We will continue to take lead from government and consult all relevant stakeholder as we take all the much-needed steps to ensure that we protect lives.”
The President and Netball South Africa Events team will continue to be in consultation with the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture as well as the Department of Health and will monitor the situation with the view of taking the best decision for the sport.
Molokwane concluded by saying “I think it is also important that we take this time and continue to use this moment to educate our people about the importance of adhering to health regulations and protocols around COVID.”
SAFA Suspends All Non-Professional Football:
The South African Football Association also announced the suspension of all non-professional football, which includes the SAFA National Women’s League.
The suspension includes training sessions, courses, workshops and all matches. The matter will be reviewed by 31 January 2021 when the Association will make further risk assessments and advice.
Cricket SA Delays Return of Amateur Cricket:
Cricket South Africa confirmed the return of all forms of amateur cricket has been delayed until the first of February, 2021.
CSA had originally plotted a return to play roadmap for provincial cricket, clubs, schools and KFC Mini-Cricket commencing in the first week of January but due to the current national level 3 lockdown amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, no amateur cricket will be possible for the month of January.
“In an effort to make up for the time lost to amateur cricket, CSA is considering the possibility of extending the playing window to the end of May 2021. Further, Senior Provincial teams will be prioritised, as we explore the option of having tournaments played within bio-secure environments,” Acting Head of Cricket Pathways Edward Khoza said.
Canoeing SA Amends Calendar:
Canoeing South Africa has moved pre-emptively to shift its major events by five weeks and reorganise its calendar of races to ensure full compliance with the battle against the coronavirus.
“We are in the eye of the storm, and the paddling community, like the whole of the country, is getting daily tragic reminders of how serious this virus is,” said Canoeing South Africa president Kim Pople.
“We have to be responsible and try and lead by example as a sporting federation.”
Pople confirmed that an agreement has been reached to move the popular N3TC Drak Challenge from the end of January to 6 and 7 March 2021, the MyLife Dusi Canoe Marathon to 18 to 20 March and the Stihl Umkomaas Marathon to 27 and 28 March 2021.
Cycling SA Events on Hold:
Cycling South Africa confirmed no cycling events shall be permitted to take place until 15 January 2020.
According to a statement by Cycling SA, the following regulations have been put in place:
- Cyclists are able to continue training but not in groups.
- Training is now restricted to between the hours of 06.00 and 21.00 daily.
- Masks are not required when exercising vigorously, but cyclists must keep a distance of 1,5m away from any other person. A mask needs to be worn at all other times.
Cycling SA are also refraining from making final decisions regarding the National Championships scheduled for February 2020, until further announcements have been made by government regarding national lockdown restrictions.
Tennis SA Protocols:
Tennis South Africa (TSA) updated protocols in line with Covid-19 regulations following the Level 3 announcement.
Note the following in terms of tennis:
- Tennis tournaments may continue, in line with current TSA COVID-19 regulations;
- Social tennis at clubs may continue, in line with current TSA COVID-19 regulations. However, bars must be closed and players must reserve court times. No social gatherings are permitted i.e. braais or social activities off court;
- Tennis coaching activities may continue, in line with current TSA COVID-19 regulations;
- Tennis venues must not open before 06:00 and need to close by 20:00 – due to the revised curfew regulations;
- Tennis venues must have a COVID-19 compliance officer on site, when the venues are open.
The following needs to be given strict attention:
- Wearing of masks;
- Screening of players when arriving at a venue;
- Maintaining of records;
- Sanitising of players;
- No gatherings– unfortunately tournaments need to continue to operate without spectators. We are aware that recent tournaments parents / coaches have been gathering in parking areas and paring on the side of the road to try and watch matches. Unfortunately, while we appreciate everyone’s “COVID-19 fatigue” we need to ensure players are dropped off and picked up after their match. We cannot afford to have vehicles in parking areas, thereby creating the perception that tennis is allowing “gatherings”.
Photo 1 caption: Netball SA – alongside leading sports codes – has issued information around necessary fixture delays to prevent the spread of COVID-19, affecting planned competition at the start of the new calendar year. Photo: Supplied
Photo 2 caption: Measures put in place by SAFA include the provisional suspension of all non-professional football, which includes the SAFA National Women’s League’s training sessions, courses, workshops and all matches. Photo: Supplied