Mbabane: The 30 teams under the Premier League of Eswatini (PLE) are faced with a E2.1 million headache needed to purchase safety measure Covid-19 equipment.
There will be 30 PLE teams in the new season expected to kick off November 20, with 16 in the Premier League and 14 in the National First Division. Each team will require around E70 000 to purchase the equipment according to the Eswatini Football Association (EFA) Medical Committee submissions.
The committee headed by EFA vice president Comfort Shongwe presented that each team is expected to procure two temperature reading thermometers, cotton masks, surgical masks, two boxes of sterile gloves, 100 plastic aprons, three 25 litres of hand sanitisers and four 5 litres of antiseptic solutions among other things. Some of the listed equipment will have to be constantly purchased during the course of the season.
The roll-out of the football resumption strategy has already commenced since this past Monday, October 12, with the onset of training with football clubs scheduled to commence on Monday October 19.
Prior testing of players will be implemented to assure the health condition of all players on resumption, including regular screening on a daily basis ahead of any training session by a football team.
The competitions committee in conjunction with the medical committee will have meetings with the teams’ doctors and officials of football clubs to educate them on their responsibilities at football clubs during this COVID-19 environment.
EFA has already trained a group of 33 medical personnel for national teams and football clubs on COVID-19, which will be the same group of medical personnel that will be utilized for football clubs.
EFA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Frederick Mngomezulu said it is therefore mandatory for all football clubs to have a team doctor, ahead of the resumption of their training programme.
The domestic competitions at the level of the Premier League are scheduled to kickoff on Friday, November 20.
The Hhohho and Shiselweni Regional Associations have to implement playoffs matches, given that they have two streams of super leagues, to produce teams that will participate in the national first division league.
These playoff matches will be played on November 20 and 22 to be able to determine the teams that will qualify for the National First Division League for the 2020/2021 National First Division League.Mr
The National First Division League will therefore kick-off on the November 28. “The introduction of other leagues will be announced in due course in response to the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic and prior engagements with the Government of the Kingdom of Eswatini and pertinent health establishments,” Mngomezulu said.
He continued that establishment of competitions’ guidelines to include COVID-19 elements for the implementation of football resumption during the COVID-19 period of football will be announced.
The competitions committee is finalising a football safe resumption document that will be published next week to all members and clubs for their utilisation. This document seeks to establish detailed guidelines and regulations that will be essential in the implementation of a safe return to football, including all COVID-19 and medical elements applicable during the practice of football competitions.
In the meantime, there will be a series of meetings of clubs and team doctors on the return protocols.
As per the Prime Minister announcement when giving organised football the green light to restart, the will be no spectators in stadiums.
“As had been stated earlier, there will be no fans attending to watch football matches on their return. EFA laments this unfortunate situation, however, in view of the requirement to assure a safe return of our game that is loved so much by many, there is a need to remain calm as authorities deal with this issue.
In this regard, EFA appeals to the football fans who are a significant part of the football family to collaborate with her as she gradually implements a safe return of the game. Some interventions are still being discussed to provide fans with an opportunity to follow their revered football clubs as they play their competitions,” he said.
EFA has implored all football participants, the football family and general populace to adhere to the prescriptions of mitigating the effects and spread of the COVID-19 pandemic as they go about their daily business.
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