Ronwen Williams is keeping fit during the lockdown, and enjoying more family time. Picture: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
Ronwen Williams is keeping fit during the lockdown, and enjoying more family time. Picture: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Battle against Covid-19 'more important than football'

By Bonginkosi Ndadane Time of article published Apr 1, 2020

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JOHANNESBURG - Bafana Bafana and SuperSport United’s No 1 goalkeeper, Ronwen Williams, admits that it has been difficult to handle the nationwide imposed lockdown, but he has found ways to make it work.

The country is on a 21-day lockdown that started last Thursday last week in a bid to flatten the curve of the spread of the coronavirus that had claimed five lives as of Monday.

This virus has stretched its tentacles on every sphere, including sport which resulted in the indefinite suspension of the PSL. But when the league was only suspended, clubs still trained in preparation of the day normality would return.

However, during the lockdown there is none of that as only those involved in essential services have been allowed to leave their homes. Williams is among the South Africans who have been working from home.

“It’s not easy,” Williams said. “It has been a tough challenge because this is not something we are used to. But we have to adapt and stay mentally strong. This is a bigger fight, which is more important than football. We all have to play our part in flattening the curve. We have to stay indoors and follow the government’s orders. We have been given a programme by the club to follow, which includes daily challenges. The boys are looking good.”

But how does Williams stay motivated when training on his own, without the energy and camaraderie he experiences daily at Matsatsantsa’s training base in Sunninghill?

“The coach (Kaitano Tembo) and the chief executive, Stan Matthews, have told us what we need to do,” Williams said.

“There will be tests done when we return and you don’t want to be the one who has dropped. We have a Whatsapp group where we push and motivate each other. There are also daily challenges that keep us on our toes. There is no time to slack.”

The PSL has said that it would ideally like to finish the season on June 30, but remains flexible. They appointed a task team to look into when football can resume, especially as President Cyril Ramaphosa had also imposed a limit of 100 people at a gathering before he announced the lockdown.

The government has been swift in its response to the pandemic that has claimed thousands of lives in Italy, the country that has recorded the most deaths.

“It’s quite scary,” Williams said. “The spread of the virus has been an eye-opener. We have to ensure good hygiene like it has been preached.

“This is not the time to take short cuts or be reckless. To see how it has spread in other countries has been scary, which is why it’s important for us to flatten the curve and do everything in our power to stop the spread.”

This lockdown has had its benefits, especially for someone who is constantly on the road - travelling the length and breadth of the country with SuperSport and the continent with Bafana.

“It has been nice to spend time with the family, my job doesn’t allow me to do it as much as I would like,” Williams said. “We are spending a lot of time as a family and I am also chipping in into the household a lot more than I normally do.”

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