Sports scientists in Teso have expressed fear that the region might not kick any ball again because of the financial constraints clubs face given the fact that players must be tested for COVID-19, 72 hours before.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni announced the resumption of sports events in the country, after six months of disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an interview with our reporter, Nickolas Opio, a sports scientist and the Soroti district sports officer said the already financial constraints clubs in the region have been hit economically by COVID-19 and the worsening situation is that they cannot afford to carry out tests as required.
A standard COVID-19 test costs US$65 approximating to Shillings 240,000, something Opio says most clubs cannot manage unless the government comes out to support.
Julius Opolot, the director and CEO TEPA FC, a regional club playing in FUFA North East regional league in Ngora district said he foresees teams in the region pulling out of sports for now because they can’t meet tight health guidelines.
“We are happy that the president has opened sports, but the financial of the regional club cannot cope with the demands of COVID-19, that means Teso may not be able to see any ball kicked, fields are going to be bushy unless something is done by the government,” he said.
Simon Opolot, a sports scientist and Soroti district Handball coordinator says sports, like other sectors, was disrupted and caught many by surprise. He said the government should subsidize the test of the players on COVID-19.
Simon Otim, the Soroti City FC head coach said most of the clubs are community owned who have been equally affected by COVID-19 and may not be able to adapt the stringent measures including testing players every after 14days.
Meanwhile, the Federation of Uganda Football Association – FUFA spokesperson Ahmed Hussein said Fufa is set to hold meetings with both internal and external football stakeholders to discuss the stringent measures put by president Museveni for sports to resume.