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Kenya: Covid-19 Surge Holds Up Restart of Local Football


Kenyan Premier League clubs will have to wait longer for the kick off of the new 2020/21 season owing to a rise in the number of coronavirus cases in the country.

Sports Principal Secretary Joe Okudo at the weekend said that the government will not allow the resumption of contact sports for the time being.

“Have you seen how the coronavirus cases are surging? We cannot allow the league to begin, whatever the situation, until when we will be sure of the players’ safety,” he said.

The PS spoke on the sidelines of a retreat for the Ministry of Sports Culture and Heritage officials together with the Sports Culture and Tourism Parliamentary Committee at the Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort in Mombasa.

Okudo said that the persistent increase in the number of Kenyans being infected with the coronavirus means the safety of players cannot be guaranteed. He added that the government does not want to endanger the lives of players.

Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed told participants that they are monitoring the Covid-19 situation together with the Ministry of Health. The way forward on the opening of contact sports will be decided soon, she said.

“I know the players involved in contact sports which were not opened are running out of patience, but again, it will be important that the Health ministry give gives the way forward before we can say we are opening sports which should be soon,” she said.

While addressing a joint session of the National Assembly Departmental Committee for Sports, Culture and Tourism, the CS also underlined the critical need to enhance budgetary allocation so that the ministry is able to finance its operations.

“The stimulus package provided support to 2,359 vulnerable sportspersons from 92 federations in the country. We feel that we should have continued to provide the same to these vulnerable persons until the situation improves if we had enough funds in our kitty,” Amina said.

She also highlighted to members the success that the ministry has registered this year, despite the prevailing global health circumstances.

This includes hosting a successful World Athletics Continental Tour Kip Keino Classic on October 3, registering 222 sports federations and organisations through the Sports Registrar’s office and training 72,812 participants on anti-doping education.

The CS also said the ministry had completed 3,228 doping control tests and prosecuted 81 anti-doping rule violations. Amina also said her ministry had completed refurbishment of the Stadion Hotel and construction of the new annex indoor arena at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.

The ministry also established the first Presidential Archives and Libraries in Kenya since independence.

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