Coronavirus: FERWAFA bans pre-match handshakes

Team captains shake hands before the match at Kigali Stadium. FERWAFA has banned the traditional fair-play handshake before football matches as a precaution against the outbreak of coronavirus. / Sam Ngendahimana.

The Rwanda football federation (FERWAFA) has temporarily banned the traditional fair-play handshake before football matches as a precaution against the outbreak of coronavirus.

There hasn’t been any recorded case of coronavirus in Rwanda but the Government has put in place preventive measures that include stopping handshakes and all forms of close body contacts.

 

In a statement released on Tuesday, FERWAFA pointed out a couple of preventive measures like no shaking hands, or hugging among coaches, players or spectators, reads a statement signed by the federation’s general secretary, Regis Uwayezu.

 

The statement also asked all football clubs to put in place means of washing hands at all playgrounds 2 hours before a football match starts.

 

Clean water and soap or hand sanitizers must be placed at every entry of the stadium or pitches.

Postponement of tournaments

While the world grapples to contain COVID-19, normal life is being shaken including sports.

The Basketball African league inaugural season, which was slated to start on March 13 in Dakar, Senegal was postponed over “health concerns” of the outbreak.

Patriots basketball club is Rwanda’s representative in the continental hoops championship. 

Also, six Rwandan athletes who were set to participate in the World half marathon Championships originally on March 29 in Poland will wait until October after the event was postponed.

The handshake ban follows the government’s effort to minimize events which gather crowds of people and enforce washing hands in all public spaces.

A meeting that gathered sports stakeholders last week at the sports ministry endorsed cancellation or postponement of “all unessential international” games or competitions in which Rwandan teams or athletes may participate.

While Cameroon confirmed its first coronavirus case, Amavubi, Rwanda’s national football team is set to fly to the central African nation next month for 2020 African Nations Championship (CHAN).

Concerning this tournament, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) envisages ‘matches behind closed doors, postponements or even cancellations’ if need be. 

CAF, however, said their events slated for the coming weeks, which also include the AFCON (African Cup of Nations) qualifiers and the interclub finals, will go ahead as planned.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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