David Rossouw - August 19, 2020

With the introduction of lockdown level 2, amateur football might just receive the green light from SAFA and the Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture. On 20 August SAFA submitted an application to the Minister of Sport to lift the suspension on amateur football, requesting a restart of provincial and regional competitions such as the ABC Motsepe, SAB and SASOL promotional leagues. It will be interesting to hear what the conditions will be should the minister give the go-ahead, as amateur football will not be able to provide adequate precautions due to the financial burden resting on the shoulders of club owners and the local football leagues who generate most of their income from registrations and gate fees paid by spectators. Players and teams’ management staff will be regularly screen and tested according to Covid-19 regulations but without spectator support it will not be possible to play fixtures unless SAFA and the government contribute to the leagues.

According to thee Dunoon facility manager, Mzingisi Vutula, all facilities are in good condition and will be ready should activities start in October. Field maintenance is continuing, with sports fields being cut twice a month. “A few community halls and centre’s are also available for indoor training but sports clubs should make contact with the hub managers”, said Vutula. City mayco member for community services and health, Zahid Badroodien, said playing surfaces at City of Cape Town sports fields have recovered significantly and are ready for athletes once regulations allow.

Lack of activity on the fields, couples with winter rains and cool temperatures over the last few months have resulted in significantly improved playing surfaces. “It has proven that limiting the usage of fields to allow the grass some much needed recovery time, results in a better quality playing surface,” said Badroodien. He said the City’s Department of Parks and Recreation is taking advantage of the opportunity to reinstate lawns where possible, and rehabilitation efforts have been focused on facilities that have alternative water supply systems such as boreholes and treated effluent.

But he said there were ongoing challenges to maintaining sports fields. These included theft, vandalism, and illegal use. These actions set delayed the recovery of fields and could even spell a delay to reopening once regulations allow. “We encourage our sporting fraternity to be patient and our residents to report any suspicious activity at facilities,” said Badroodien. “The Department will continue to encourage the use of the triage scoring system by all users and request the support of users in adhering to allotted usage times per facility once the facilities are allowed to reopen. This system will assist the City to provide properly maintained playing surfaces to support scheduled sport matches.”

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