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Kaseke’s Covid-19 lockdown anguish

By Mehluli Sibanda

Imagine being in lockdown due to the coronavirus far away in an Asian country while your family, that is wife and children are also under restrictions back home in Zimbabwe.

Noel Kaseke
Noel Kaseke

Well, this is the state of affairs that United Arab Emirates-based former Highlanders as well as Zimbabwe Warriors defender Noel Kaseke finds himself in.

Kaseke is domiciled in the UAE city of Fujairah where he is an assistant coach at Dibba Al-Hissin Sports Cultural Club who play in the UAE First Division. He gave a glimpse of how life is like in UAE where all sporting activities were halted on 10 March.

“Honestly it’s very difficult as I can imagine for everyone else who was used to a certain way of living and then suddenly you have to make a complete u-turn and live in a confined space with very limited movement.

“Only going out of the house at a certain time to get food supplies then that’s it and looking at the world from a balcony is hard,’’ Kaseke said.

What is psychologically strenuous for Kaseke is that his wife and their three children are back home in Zimbabwe at such trying times where the global picture is getting gloomy with each passing day.

“It’s even harder when you are alone and in my case with my family back home. Emotionally it’s draining as you constantly worry if they are okay and are safe while each and every day I wake up to an increase in cases of the virus all over the world and with every country putting more strict measures and closing their borders I get more worried,’’ Kaseke said.

His hope amid all that is going on is in the Almighty, something that kept Kaseke rational during this crisis. Kaseke has allocated himself time to pray and read the Bible on a daily basis, something he is finding to be comforting.

“My only hope, trust and faith are in God, that is one thing that has kept me sane and gives me hope that all is going to be okay. God didn’t bring me this far to leave me alone and everything happens for a reason.

“There is a time under the sun for everything in God. So, I hold on to my faith and trust in the same God that has blessed me all my life and kept me alive that he will surely see me through,’’ he said.

The crisis has given Kaseke time to go over all his team’s matches for this season to pick out where they could have gone wrong.

“I spend my days going over all our season games and analysing them, looking at what we could have done better and all our training plans to assess what was done well and what was not done well.

“I try to keep improving and learning from the best coaches out there reading books and researching,’’ Kaseke said.

With the availability of modern ways of learning, the Dibba Al-Hissin assistant coach has taken up an online six months course on tactics and analysis.

“I am also grateful for the technology that I am doing E-learning to advance myself doing a six-month course on tactics and analysis and its effect on games and how it must be applied and how the modern coaches are applying.

“Knowledge is power, they say, I am improving myself so when the time comes, I am ready to go again God willing.”

Dibba Al-Hissin were second on the log having played 21 matches with four fixtures still outstanding. Two teams get promoted to the Arabian Gulf League. Their chances of going up are looking good.

“We had four games to go, we had played a total of 21 games. We had done very well. We are second and still in the running for qualifying to the Arabian Gulf League.”

Training was meant to have resumed last Wednesday but with the Covid-19 situation not yet abated, that has been put on hold until further notice.

Kaseke has had to take a 40 percent pay cut together with other employees at all UAE clubs as per recommendations made by world football governing body Fifa.

“We were meant to start training on Wednesday but it has been suspended indefinitely. Already here the other sectors are affected with people put on forced leave without pay. We have all taken a 40 percent salary cut.

“It was a directive from UAE federation to all clubs as per recommendation by Fifa to deal with the current situation that each association with representatives of the clubs to reach a consensus on the way forward as they are not sure when leagues will resume but financial implications will be felt by each club,’’ he said.

Kaseke was meant to come home next month but with planes grounded, it appears it will be a matter of a long wait before he can be with his family again.The Sunday News