Like many soccer fans, soccer writer Minenhle Mkhize is grappling with life without sport as he tries to make sense of this unique situation.
Like many soccer fans, soccer writer Minenhle Mkhize is grappling with life without sport as he tries to make sense of this unique situation.

Soccer scribe Minenhle's life has been thrown upside down; how's yours going?

By Minenhle Mkhize Time of article published Mar 24, 2020

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DURBAN – I must admit that life without sport has been pretty boring.

On a normal weekend you’d be spoiled for choice when it comes to sports, whether you choose to go to the stadiums to watch sport live or you opt to enjoy it all in the comfort of your living room or with mates in a bar. Being at home, you’d be changing channels, moving from one sport to the other.

This past weekend, however, it felt empty without our sporting fix.

A normal weekend would start in the morning with Super Rugby matches. Often there would also be a cricket match on the go. Thereafter it would be time for a switch to the English Premier League (EPL).

Mo Salah in action in the EPL. Photo:

From the EPL, one would move to the Absa Premiership. The other choices available almost always included motorsport, golf or tennis, more rugby or cricket.

But the coronavirus pandemic has denied us that routine. Everything that has to do with sport has been put on ice.

In football, the suspension of activities has been made worse by the fact that we were just heading to the end of the seasons.

League races were starting to hot up in various parts of the world. Here at home, what had earlier appeared to be Kaizer Chiefs’ season for glory while celebrating their 50th anniversary has suddenly threatened to implode as reigning champions Mamelodi Sundowns closed in on them.

In England, it was merely a formality as Liverpool’s well-oiled machine was sauntering to the title.

It was far from academic elsewhere, however. In the Spanish La Liga, the German Bundesliga and the Italian Serie A, the identity of the potential champions is still far from being clear. We had a thrilling finale on our hands in those leagues and that was making for great TV viewing as each match involving the contenders was like a cup final.

Wits coach Gavin Hunt pictured pitchside on a typical Saturday. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

The Uefa Champions League was also heading for its climax as it headed into the highly competitive quarter-final stage.

Yet all that excitement has been halted by this pandemic. It is tough times for lovers of the beautiful game and for sports enthusiasts as a whole.

Hopefully a cure for the pandemic will be found soon so that we can get back to normal.

Different sports federations have done well by prioritising the health of their athletes. It must be their first priority.

Games can’t take place during these testing times, otherwise we would be putting athletes and the lovers of sport in jeopardy.

The number of diagnosed athletes is growing, especially in Europe. One of our own, swimming legend Cameron van der Burgh, announced on social media from his base in London that he has tested positive.

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Cameron van der Burgh celebrates after a race. Photo:

As much as we miss our sporting heroes in action, it is imperative that we put their health first so that they can still entertain and dazzle us in future.

All we can do at this stage is to pray that a way to deal with the outbreak is found soon.

I wonder, though: What will happen should the pandemic continue for the next three months?

What will happen to the various football leagues?

Mind you, what will happen in the transfer market? There are several players who are in their last three months with their clubs. What will really happen to those contracts?

Will the leagues hand those who are at the summit of the table the championship? Is the 2019/20 season going to be declared null and void? What happens to those that are in their leagues’ respective relegation zones?

These are questions many soccer fans are grappling with as they try to make sense of this situation.

It remains to be seen as to what will happen at the end of June.


The Mercury

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