LeFA must get Covid-19 vaccine for soccer teams

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Moorosi Tsiane

EARLY last month, the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) suspended football activities to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Shortly afterwards, the government announced a 14-day lockdown which was extend by another seven days.

LeFA had suspended all leagues and group training sessions until the government and the National Covid-19 Secretariat (NACOSEC) deem it safe to allow sports to return.
This is the second time that the association has suspend football after it did the same in March last year when Lesotho started recording cases.

The league was eventually declared finished in July with Bantu being crowned the premier League champions while Manonyane and CCX were both promoted from A Division into the elite league.
Sports was later given green light to resume in October but unfortunately, the second wave of infections has worsened the situation.

Experts say there is a possibility of the third wave in the upcoming winter season and as far as I see, should the league resume once the lockdown is relaxed, we might see the season ending in June.
This simply means that should there be a third wave, sports will be suspended again. This may further stretch the season to August or even beyond.

The longer the season is stretched, the more teams will go deeper into financial strains.
The government has announced that the first batch of Covid-19 vaccine will be received in April this year.

While it is unclear how the vaccine will be distributed, it goes without saying that the frontline workers will be the ones to be vaccinated first while other groups will follow.

The million-dollar question now will be, when will players be vaccinated and who will be paying for their vaccine? Will it be LeFA or the teams that will shoulder the responsibility?

Unconfirmed reports say a single dose of the vaccine will cost about M700 and hypothetically, teams have at least 50 people including players and staff. This means each team will have to fork out an average of M35 000 for their players and staff. If they have more than 50, the figure will be even higher. That too will be the same case if the price is higher.

Whatever the case, most of the teams cannot afford the vaccine on their own. Fortunately, there is a second batch of relief funds that they are yet to receive from FIFA.

In the first batch, premier league teams received M80 000 each and it may be prudent to use the second batch for vaccines.

I also believe it is prudent that the A Division and other lower division teams will also receive the same assistance.

This will ensure that leagues continue and the season can end in time. And should the season stretched to July or August again, some of the teams may struggle financially.

LeFA must therefore step up and show initiative and avoid waiting for the government to provide vaccines.

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