CAF in favour of behind closed doors matches 

25Jun 2020
Joseph Mchekadona
The Guardian
CAF in favour of behind closed doors matches 

​​​​​​​THE Confederation of African Football (CAF) has recommended that member associations should host matches behind closed doors when the associations resume football amid coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

JKT Tanzania's center back, Damas Makwaya (L), dribbles past Singida United player in a Vodacom Premier League encounter which took place in Dodoma early this week. PHOTO; COURTESY OF TFF

Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) through the federation's information officer Clifford Ndimbo, though, could not say if they are in receipt of the CAF guidelines.

Ndimbo only said they are delighted that CAF named them as the first African country to resume football during the pandemic.

“And Tanzania is exemplary to CAF as being the only nation which has resumed its league(s) with supporters after (cases of coronavirus had decreased),” he said.

As many African football associations are contemplating of resuming their leagues. On Monday CAF released the recommended guidelines.

The continental soccer governing body, in the recommended guidelines, disclosed the associations are advised to resume matches without supporters because the associations, leagues and clubs have health security challenges.

From the view of health security, according to the continental football governing body, the resumption of training and matches will not be easily managed by stakeholders as basic standards and absolutely necessary procedures are beyond the reach of many clubs.

Further, the continental soccer governing body said, the danger is poised as many elite African clubs do not have organized medical departments.

“A great challenge awaits the African federations, their professional leagues and their clubs, often unaccustomed to scrupulously respecting standards and procedures of this type. Especially since health security is not negotiable,'' CAF stated.

“Unfortunately, basic standards and absolutely necessary procedures are beyond the reach of many clubs that we know. Apart from a few rare exceptions, which confirm the rule, the clubs of the African elite do not have really organised medical departments.” Said part of CAF guidelines.''

The continental soccer governing body has also recommended that each of African leagues and clubs recruit an officer with medical background, to be in charge of coordinating all actions related to the pandemic.

All participants such as players, officials, referees, ball boys, stewards, police, paramedics and the media, moreover, must take COVID-19 tests.

The guidelines also highlight on group training sessions, disinfection of sporting facilities and installation of hydro-alcoholic gels and hygienic equipment on all venues.

“This comprehensive document is major step towards resuming football on the continent. Based on recent developments, it is important we have a plan in place to guide our stakeholders on the return of continental and domestic competitions, and the need for an all hands on deck approach.

“Many considerations were factored into the putting together of the document by our team of experts notably the specifications of the continent. Together with strategies established by local authorities, it provides the associations with adequate information to resume operations upon receiving the green light,” said CAF Acting Secretary General, Abdelmounaim Bah, stated in a statement.

Tanzania's leagues resumed last week, with football teams and stakeholders following health guidelines directed by the government.

Some of the precaution measures which are being observed at local stadia include people being required to wash their hands before going into the stadium by using running water, use sanitisers and, if possible wear masks.

Soccer followers, moreover, are required to have temperature tests and create a one-meter distance with each other once inside the venue.

Recently, the government through Ministry of Information, Culture, Arts and Sports directed that all football matches played at Jamuhuri Stadium in Dodoma are to be played without supporters.

The order was issued after the stadium's management had failed to adhere to some precautionary measures during a Vodacom Premier League game pitting JKT Tanzania against Young Africans (Yanga).

However, the management of the stadium and JKT Tanzania indicated that they will appeal to the government to reverse its decision, promising to adhere to all precautionary measures