Coronavirus rocks Kenyan sport
Three major national sport organisations have suspended their seasons in the wake of the Kenyan Government’s decision to ban public gatherings on Friday morning after confirming the country’s first case of coronavirus.
The 2020 Magical Kenya Open became the first major sporting event in the country to suffer the effects of the fast-spreading virus last Friday when Health CS Mutahi Kagwe announced a 30-day ban on all international events.
On Thursday, Athletics Kenya (AK) said it had barred athletes from travelling abroad with that announcement coming a day after the World Health Organization labelled the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic.
“Following a directive from the Government of Kenya and due to the global outbreak of the Covid-19 virus, Athletics Kenya has suspended all clearance and travel to international events for athletes,” Athletics Kenya said in a statement.
“In a bid to safeguard the athletes and consequently the country from the virus, we urge all athletes to cancel travel arrangements for the next one month pending further communication,” it added.
Kenya Hockey Union (KHU) and Kenya Rugby (KRU) issued swift statements after CS Kagwe announced a ban on all public gatherings, games, events church crusades and inter-school games.
“In light of ongoing developments resulting from the announcement of an active COVID 19 (New Corona Virus) case in the country…the Kenya Rugby Union is announcing the suspension of the 2019-20 season.
“This suspension starts with fixtures set for 14 March 2020 across the Kenya Cup, KRU Championship, KRU Nationwide and Eric Shirley Shield competitions,” KRU said, adding it will issue a ‘comprehensive statement’ later.
KHU, whose season set to enter its third week over the weekend, made a similar announcement.
“In view of the fact that corona has been confirmed in the country, the executive committee has decided to suspend all the league matches. We will be communicating new dates of restarting the league as the fixtures will have to be reviewed.”
All branch Volleyball activities are hereby also postponed indefinitely in compliance with the Government circular, the Kenya Volleyball Federation (KVF) President Waithaka Kioni has said.
Football Kenya Federation (FKF) is expected to make an announcement in the afternoon, according to its Secretary General Barry Otieno.
“We are engaging all FKF branch Officials, KPL,NSL and all the lower leagues to come up with a solution on how best we can handle this weekend matches,especially since most clubs which we all know are struggling financially had already travelled. We will issue an official statement latest 330pm today.”
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