COVID-19 COSAFA AfriCAN: CAF President Ahmad urges football stakeholders to be ready to lead

Confederation of African Football (CAF) President Ahmad Ahmad has urged the continent’s role-players to be ready to lead the recovery of the game once the coronavirus pandemic has subsided.

Football on the continent has been brought to a virtual standstill, with just Burundi’s league playing on, but Ahmad says stakeholders need to ready themselves to swing back into action when it is safe to do so.

“In these painful times full of worry, it only comes to my mind that all of our populations, all our living sources and our youth, will emerge from this pandemic in good health and in optimal shape to attack the recovery of our activities with courage and determination,” Ahmad said.

“Football, which brings together passions from all over the world, remains, of course, very much awaited on our continent and CAF is already focused on the conditions for relaunching our competitions and our events.

“A revival that we are studying in its smallest parameters, because it will awaken the zeal of our fellow Leaders, Presidents, Players, technical, administrative and medical staff, and all our large family.”

Ahmad says that football needs to go back to basics when it does resume so that it can ensure its long-term revival and survival.

“Never has a crisis of such great magnitude crossed the world, never has world sport decreed so many postponements of its programs, never has such a tsunami struck the most basic sporting practice!” he said.

“We are now condemned to rebuild the basics, or at least to reinforce them, to energize them so that the time of recovery will be the best structured and the best disposed to conquer or re- conquer the dry territories of sport and football.

“I know the degree of passion of Africans for world football, their own football, their competitions, their championships and also for their legends and current stars, and I know that at the signal given by the health authorities, they will demonstrate in a masterful way, an exceptional commitment to give life again to our beautiful competitions, permanent attraction stuck directly to our social and cultural lives in each of our 54 nations.”

Ahmad also urged citizens of all nations to respect the measures being put in place by authorities to help combat the coronavirus pandemic.

“Let’s stay disciplined as part of health measures taken in the general interest, but let’s stay ready to put the work apron back on and breathe new life into football, our football, with vigour and selflessness.

“History will judge us for the scope of our actions today to secure a bright future tomorrow.”

Fans should adhere to the guidelines laid out by the World Health Organisation in the bid to combat the coronavirus outbreak, which include:

Wash your hands frequently: Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.

Maintain social distancing: Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. 

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth: Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.

Practice respiratory hygiene: Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately. 

If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early: Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.