Coaches in Tanzania have criticised the habit of footballers congregating at beaches and training together.
As the Mainland Premier League is widely expected to resume in the first week of June, a number of players have thronged to the coast and have been seen together, even though the ban on public gathering has not been lifted for now.
The Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) and the Premier League Board (TPLB) are awaiting the government’s final word before producing the calendar to be followed for when the actions resume, after the league was suspended in March.
Ndanda FC head coach Abdul Mingange has explained how the players training together are putting themselves at risk of Covid-19.
“It is not right at all for them to train together along the beaches. It is evident that the coronavirus is still with us and the relevant authorities including the government have not given directives allowing public gatherings as of now,” Mingange told Mwanaspoti.
“I have seen on the national dailies how the players have congregated along beaches and training together.
“In other countries, players undergo rigorous tests to ascertain they are not affected before they start training together. But here, the players, on their own volition, decide to congregate and train together.
“Unfortunately, one of them can be affected and putting in danger everyone as they train together.”
The tactician is not entirely opposed to group training but says there is a need to strictly follow safety guidelines.
“We have not been told not to train but for now, given the Covid-19 issue, the only proper way of doing it is carrying out individual training. They are training together regardless of knowing where one came from and if he is okay at all,” he added.
“It is time soccer authorities educate players on the need to understand the magnitude of this pandemic.”
Tanzania Prisons coach Mohammed Rishard said the players might have coincidentally found themselves at the coast without prior planning.
“It could be that these players met there by chance and whenever footballers find themselves in a commonplace, they tend to do joint training sessions,” he told the same publication.
“But I must stress the need for them to take seriously the precautionary measures put in place so as to avoid contracting the disease.”
On her part, Twiga Stars coach Edna Lema described beaches as the safest areas for training especially given that pitches are no-go zones.
“Beaches are always safe places because they are mostly not crowded as other places and it is also wide,” Lema told Mwanaspoti as well.