Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Stay @ home and be safe: Ariel – ‘We can’t take coronavirus lightly’

By Ricky Zililo

The coronavirus lockdown affecting virtually the entire globe has forced just about everyone to adjust to a new type of lifestyle and devise ways of passing time indoors.

Prince Dube and Ariel Sibanda
Prince Dube and Ariel Sibanda

None can be more frustrated than sportspersons that had either started their seasons or were preparing to kick-off their campaigns when everything was forced into a standstill by the Covid-19 pandemic that has wreaked havoc around the world, killing tens of thousands, with the infection figure slowly ticking towards the one million mark.

While other sports programmes that were in motion around the world were suspended, the Zimbabwe football league was yet to begin when directives to halt every sporting event in the country were issued to help combat the spread of the virus.

All topflight clubs were at the peak of their preparations as the league was only a week away from kick-off when public gatherings, recreational and sporting events were frozen and a three-week lockdown was declared to prevent infections that occur largely through direct human contact.

Football players had been training hard to impress their respective coaches in a bid to nail down a starting place.

Some had been putting in some extra work by going to the gym, but they too were not spared by the Government’s directive to close.

Premier Soccer League teams sent their players home, with some giving them individual training programmes to follow.

But just how have the players adjusted to the banning of their sport and how are they coping with staying indoors since the three-week lockdown started on Monday.

Chronicle Sport caught up with Highlanders’ captain and goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda.

Today marks the 10th day since Highlanders last trained as a team at Body Works Gym.

Bosso cancelled their training programmes on Monday last week and instructed the players to stay at home and avoid unnecessary movements that might expose them to the virus.

Sibanda said the instruction is clear to “stay at home and be safe”.

“This is what I’ve been doing. We can’t take this coronavirus lightly and I hope people are taking heed of the call to stay at home and minimise the risk of transmitting or contracting the virus,” said Sibanda.

“I’ve been staying at home with my family and doing a lot of catching up because when the season is on, we rarely get quality time. I’ve turned this lockdown into a time to be close with my family and worry less about football. However, the routine is always the same; wake up, eat, watch television, eat and sleep,” he said.

The Highlanders’ number one indicated that there isn’t much he’s doing in terms of fitness because unlike those who play in the European leagues that have big backyards, he doesn’t have one.

“I’ll be lying if I say I’m training, I’m having total rest,” he said, urging people to practice healthy and hygienic lifestyle to protect themselves from coronavirus.

“Even when the world discovers the cure or conquers coronavirus, we should maintain high hygienic standards. I’ve also realised that if only we feared God the way we fear this virus, maybe such things wouldn’t be happening,” Sibanda said.

He will be competing for a starting place with former Caps United goalkeeper Chris Mverechena and Reward Muza whenever the PSL eventually kicks off. The Chronicle