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players at Egba Youth football competition in Abeokuta

Hassan Abdulsalam

After Seven months of suspension of Football activities in Nigeria, the most decorated sports in the world returns amidst the Protest of calling to the Ban of Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) a unit of Nigeria Police.

Nigerians Youths have been on the streets for over 14 days in most part of the country asking the government to end police brutalities in the country.

It would be recalled that Sporting activities was banned in Nigeria in March as part of measures to curtail the spread of Coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier this month, the Presidential Task Force lifted the ban on Contact sports including Football, in a briefing by The National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Sani Aliyu, disclosed that fans will not be in the stadium.

According to Aliyu, “The lifting of restriction on outdoor activities including football is in line with earlier consultations with the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development and the NCDC (Nigeria Centre for Disease Control). However, this is limited to the actual sports itself and not mass gathering. In this regard, mass gathering at sports centres is still restricted as this represents an opportunity for the virus to spread at an increased risk of a second wave”

Recently, The Nigeria Football Federation in a virtual meeting disclosed that the elite league in the country, the Nigeria Professional Football League can kick off  from November 15.

“Following from the lifting of ban on football activities in the country, the Executive Committee endorsed a proposal by the League Management Company to fix the calendar for the 2020/2021 Nigeria Professional Football League to commence anytime from Sunday, 15th November 2020 and end the season by June 2021, with full adherence to the Federal Government’s COVID19 protocols and other requirements as may be prescribed. Full compliance with the Club Licensing regulations is mandatory for Clubs willing to take part in the NPFL. The Executive Committee further mandated the NNL, NWFL and NLO to synchronize their calendars with that of the NPFL with each of them commencing within three weeks of the elite League. However, the Executive Committee made it clear that in line with the Federal Government’s directive, all football activities can commence immediately” the communique read

Also, the Nigeria women’s league will kick off on December 9 while the country Handball league will commence on Friday 30th, October at the  Moshood Abiola Stadium, Abuja.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 has continued to affect the work of sport journalists. Despite the ban on Sporting activities, sports journalists gets contents from live Instagram chats with players, coaches and administrators.

For Post COVID 19, Nigerian journalists has said that the atmosphere will change  with different experience, adding that they will be actively active with contents 

For, Tobi Adepoju said, “It will be very different experience Atmosphere in  Post COVID with live coverage of event sports or football without the fans, the reaction you get from the fans might be missing, it’s going to be a different way, the press conference has to be different, the activities during will look different. It will set us back to big thing then give us a new life and bring new changes to sports media and new innovations”

Also Ayoola Adeleke of Rhythm Radio added to the heat, “The COVID-19, no doubt has shaken our world to it’s root and affected all one way or the other with Sports one of the most affected sectors across the globe. From funding, to athletes inactivity, to deaths amongst others, the pandemic has dealt greatly with us and we can only be happy now that the lockdown has been eased, though we haven’t totally conquered, but we are glad that sports can be back and their can be life in us once again. Now that sports is back in our country, it’s a thing of joy to us especially Journalists that we can be actively active once again. Now that sports is back, we look forward to projecting the athletes, carrying out our day to day activities and of course recover from financial loses we have experienced in our unexpected most difficult seven months we ever lived. Sports is back and we can’t wait to have it preached once again as well as have our normal life just the way it used to be.

For Yemi Sodeeq, “I think the resumption was timely. We have endured the long and unprecedented hiatus of the usual engaging actions and moments in the history of the world, especially sport as a field of human endeavors . What we need to do now is to see how best we can approach eventualities in the face of little or no alternatives. I am sure we have learned lessons and should always be prepared to face and deal with uncertainties as time goes by in a manner that will sustain our existence.” he said

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