• Football Kenya Federation suspended all competitions but spared this weekend’s Shield and National Super League matches which will be played behind closed doors.
• Elsewhere, the Kenya Rugby Union temporarily halted the season’s activities as a precaution measure to the growing pandemic.
After the first case of the deadly coronavirus (Covid-19) was reported in the country yesterday, federations hastily bit the bullet and suspended most local sporting action.
The National Olympic Committee(NOC-K) issued a circular to its affiliates, asking them to suspend sporting activities in line with the government’s directive to call off all public gatherings.
“Following the Ministry of Health confirmation of a Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) case in Nairobi, the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K), calls upon its affiliates and the sports fraternity, in general, to adhere to the Government’s prescribed steps in containing the virus. NOC-K is calling upon its member organisations to suspend public sporting activities in line with the GoK’s position and heed to the latest directions of the Ministry of Health on a range of topics from travel, personal hygiene and holding public events,” read part of the statement signed by the Secretary-General, Francis Mutuku.
Football Kenya Federation suspended all competitions but spared this weekend’s Shield and National Super League matches which will be played behind closed doors. The federation is understood to have allowed the said matches to go on this since some teams had already travelled to honour their away matches.
“Following the confirmation of the virus case in the country, the federation has suspended grass-root football competitions, Women leagues, National Division I&II and all sanctioned tournaments and Academies competitions. However, all KPL, NSL and FKF Cup fixtures for this weekend will kick off as planned, behind closed doors but will remain suspended indefinitely from Monday,” said a letter by CEO Barry Otieno.
At the same time, the Mediterranean International Cup’s direction committee has cancelled this year’s event, in which the Kenyan U-16 national team was set to take part in starting on April 7, in Girona, Spain.
Elsewhere, the Kenya Rugby Union temporarily halted the season’s activities as a precautionary measure against the growing pandemic.
“In light of the ongoing developments resulting from the announcement of an active COVID19 case in the country, and the directive from the Ministry of Health that among other things, bans public gatherings, the Kenya Rugby Union is announcing the suspension of the 2019-20 season,” read part of the statement.
“This suspension starts with fixtures set for March 14 across the Kenya Cup, KRU Championship, KRU Nationwide and Eric Shirley Shield competitions.”
Meanwhile, Lionesses, who were gearing up for the Sevens Challenger Series in Stellenbosch, South Africa will have to halt their plans after the World Rugby postponed the event.
“World Rugby has taken the decision to postpone the women’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series tournament that was due to be played in Stellenbosch on 28-29 March in response to the continued COVID-19 situation," said the world body.
"The health and safety of participating teams, tournament event staff and spectators is our highest priority. This proactive decision has been taken to help protect the global rugby community and the wider public and was taken based on the World Health Organisation and relevant public authority travel and health guidelines. The decision is fully supported by stakeholders, including unions and commercial partners."
Similarly, the Kenya Hockey Union followed suit, suspending this weekend's matches.
"Following the confirmation of the first case of COVID-19 in Kenya and the directive from the Minister for Health, we hereby call off all scheduled matches until further notice. We urge you to stay safe and follow the public health advice in all situations," a statement from KHU read.
The Kenya Volleyball Federation had to reschedule one of their league tournament set for the final weekend of the month in Kisumu to an unspecified date
“In view of the latest announcement by the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Health on the first confirmed coronavirus case in the country, the forthcoming national league/tournament scheduled for the last weekend of this month in Kisumu has be postponed indefinitely,” said a statement signed by KVF’s president Waithaka Kioni.
The Kaloleni grounds and other venues which host handball matches will be deserted as the federation called off their activities.
“The KHF National League and activities have been suspended until further notice. This follows the directive by the government on coronavirus. This applies to all other handball activities in the country,” a statement from the KHF stated.
The Kenya Netball Federation on its part suspended the trials for the U21 national team that were set to be held tomorrow at Uhuru Sports complex, Nairobi.
"On behalf of Kenya Netball Federation with a consultation with the Ministry of Sports and Culture, we have suspended indefinitely with immediate effect this weekend's tournament for the selection of under 21 netball national team. Uhuru Sports complex was set to host the event," read the statement from KNF President Immaculate Kabutha.
"Treat this matter with the seriousness and urgency it deserves. Our lives and health is of great importance. Also, follow the frequent health precautions being aired."
The Ministry of Education rescheduled their sporting activities, moving the Secondary Schools Term 1 Games from between March 17 and 21 to March 24-28 at St. Joseph's Rapogi Boys, Migori County.
The Secondary and Primary School Drama Festivals have also bee moved from March 14-21 to March 21-28 at St. Mary's Yala, Siaya County.
However, the 2020 Term One Games Nairobi region competitions commenced this morning in venues across the capital. Handball is being played at Lang'ata High, basketball is co-hosted by Upperhill Secondary and State House Girls, while rugby 15's kicked off at 2 pm at Nairobi School.
Also called off are the Chapa Dimba na Safaricom tournament through a joint statement by Safaricom and Football Kenya Federation.
"In the light of the developments due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Government’s directive to cancel all public gatherings, meetings and events, we will be postponing Chapa Dimba Na Safaricom matches until further notice," it read.
"This includes all grassroots and regional final matches. Further decisions on when these matches will take place will be communicated in due course."