THE Sports and Recreation Commission have suspended all sporting activities and events with immediate effect.
In a statement issued out last night, the SRC said all national associations, sports clubs and gyms should abide by this suspension without exception.
The measures to curb Covid-19 come into effect today.
Vice-President, Constantino Chiwenga, who also doubles up as the Minister of Health and Child Welfare, announced a new raft of measures to help in containing the cases, which are on the rise again, in the country. The Vice-President said 596 new cases, and 26 deaths, were recorded in the last seven days.
“Sadly, it has been noted that there has been a general complacency in adhering to the preventative measures, both in the communities, and workplaces.
“We are also witnessing a sharp increase in cases and deaths globally, and in the SADC region.
“In order to curb this surge in cases, and deaths in Zimbabwe and prevent a potential third wave, the following measures will be implemented effective Monday 14 June 2021.
“With regards to gatherings, the following measures are to be implemented.
“All gatherings except funerals are banned.
“These gatherings include but are not limited to weddings, church gatherings, music festivals, and sports activities,” read part of the press statement.
The Government have been giving sporting codes the green light to resume, in a phased approach, starting with the low-risk disciplines.
Medium and high-risk codes, such as football, rugby, and netball got the nod to resume, towards the end of March this year.
And, all the sporting activities, which are currently underway, are being staged without spectators.
For instance, the Chibuku Super Cup football tournament is being played in an empty stadiums, with players and officials undergoing routine Covid-19 testing, before match days.
The Sports Commission board held a marathon of meetings yesterday.
After the meetings they issued out a brief statement which only gives the green light to international competitions or qualifiers.
“All sporting activities and events are hereby suspended with effect from Monday 14 June 2021 until further notice.
“All national sports associations, clubs, gyms, and related stakeholders should abide by this suspension without exception.
“The SRC is well aware of certain on-going, or contemplated, national sports commitments (including qualifiers for international events) and will be in urgent direct communication with the relevant national associations thereof on guidance, and other mitigatory measures, in light of the above suspension,” reads the statement.
Premier Soccer League chief executive Kenny Ndebele told The Herald yesterday that they will stand guided by the Government.
“We will follow all Government directives and guidelines,” he said.
Upon resumption of the top-flight league activities, football clubs were grouped under location, and playing matches in groups.
But, some teams such as ZPC Kariba, who are in Group One, which is based in Harare, have been shuttling twice a week between the capital and the resort town, fulfilling mid-week and weekend matches.
The army clubs, Black Rhinos and Cranborne Bullets have also been travelling to and from Mutare where they are playing their matches.
Triangle and Ngezi Platinum have also been traveling to Zvishavane to play their group matches.
According to the Vice-President’s statement, travel from hot spots areas is going to be restricted, with such places updated daily.
“With regards to the management of local hot spots, the following measures shall be implemented:
(a)There will be daily national updates of hot spots as part of the daily Covid-19 situational report.
(b)The public is being advised not to travel to these hot spot areas.
(e)If the above measures fail to control the hot spot areas, targeted lockdowns will be effected in those areas,” reads part of the statement.”
Football had returned about two months ago, with only the top-flight leagues, the men and women, were given the nod to train and play.
The men’s league started with the Chibuku Super Cup and the main league programme was tentatively set to start July 19. The women’s league was scheduled to start on June 19 and clubs were currently training as part of their pre-season.
Some of the sporting disciplines, such as athletics, were getting to their peak, having held a number of competitions, since the resumption of sport including the Inter-provincial Track and Field Championships. Tennis Zimbabwe just hosted two International Tennis Federation 18-and-Under tournaments in Bulawayo that ended on Saturday and were resuming local tournaments.
TZ manager, Cliff Nhokwara, said they stand guided by the Government.
“We will stand guided by what the Ministry say through the SRC.
“We obviously advise our provinces to put everything on hold,” said Nhokwara.
Zimbabwe Handball Federation had resumed the periodic camps for the national Under-21 side and provincial competitions were scheduled to start over the weekend. ZHF secretary-general, Edison Chirowodza,said they will revert back to online-based programmes.
“The ban is a drawback as we were gearing up and most of our league games had started.
“We are going to revert to online based activities as we recently acquired an online app called XPS where we are engaging our players on training programmes and activities,” said Chirowodza.
For netball, the national association had been working on the best possible format for their return considering the time left before the end of year.
Most of the clubs had already started training in preparation for the resumption of competition, after more than a year of inactivity. Judo Association of Zimbabwe, Smart Deke, said they will wait and come up with the best possible way to start again, when they get the green light to do so.
“We are now going to wait again and see how best we are going to start again as we are also monitoring this situation of Covid-19 because, really, we were now about to resume fully.
“But, now that the spike is also hitting us again we have to abide to what we are being required to do so that we can all fight this invisible giant of Covid-19,” said Deke.
However, other sporting codes such as triathlon and swimming had completed their local season.