While this is a football publication and the content in this column always revolves around football issues, it wouldn’t be wise to turn a blind eye to the Coronavirus outbreak. We also can’t talk long enough about warning and educating our people about this virus.
As a company, we have a role to play in entertaining, informing and educating our readers. That’s why we jumped at the opportunity to hold hands with the Absa Premiership to share more information on the COVID-19 and we hope the graphics on page 22 of this edition will go a long way in spreading the message and creating awareness about this pandemic. We all need to play a role in this fight to ensure that we curb the virus so that we can get our lives back to normal, soon.
As a concerned South African citizen, I watched President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address on Monday night and the reality of the matter is that the ramifications of the wide-spread of the Coronavirus will change our lives for the next 21 days or even longer than that. The lockdown was a great call by the President as we don’t have to wait to get to a 1000 confirmed cases before we take stringent measures against this virus.
The President’s address effectively means more time without football. Again, it is good that no lives will be put in danger by trying to force matters by playing the outstanding league games so as to finish the season off. I’m glad Minister of Sport, Arts, and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa’s pronouncement that the league should go ahead behind closed doors, wasn’t followed as it would expose our players and their immediate families to danger. Football isn’t just about the 22 players that you see on the field, there are a number of other people involved. The teams would have to camp, exposed to hotel guests, staff, have their medical teams, technical team, video analysts, security, stadium security and a whole lot of other people, adding up to more than 100 in total. If one player tests positive, imagine the risk of the virus spreading to everyone who makes contact with them? It would be an unnecessary exercise and I’m glad that sanity prevailed. Let’s wait for an all-clear from the government before we can think of resuming the season. It isn’t worth risking lives, at all.
Guys, we have hit times of uncertainty and the Coronavirus outbreak has changed and affected our lives badly! This is the time, as I mentioned in my previous column, where all the real leaders will show their true colours and ensure that they play a meaningful role to restore normalcy.
It is really advisable to heed the President’s call, self-isolate, stay safe in order to protect yourself and your loved ones from this virus. As the editor of this newspaper, who cares about the safety of our staff as well as the well-being of our readers, we’ve had to put some measures in place to ensure that we minimise the risk of this virus by self-isolating and doing everything we can to make sure that you still get your weekly publication on the shelves. Our digital team is working around the clock to keep you up to speed with much-needed and relevant content, which will come in handy during the 21-day lockdown. We will also have our social media team keeping you abreast with any updates. So, it is not going to be all doom and gloom. We will do everything in our power to make sure to keep you company.
In case you don’t get your copy of Soccer Laduma on the shelves, we have put a notice on page 4, which should be shared by our millions of readers, which details different ways you can still get your newspaper even without stepping out of the comfort of your home. We will also make sure to share the information on our digital platform as well as social media. Please feel free to contact us for any questions. Together, we will get through this virus.
At Soccer Laduma, we’ve made every effort to stick to the rules stipulated by the government to ensure the safety of our staff as well as exercise responsibility with our readers. A number of precautionary measures have been put in place to ensure that we minimise the potential spread of this virus. Writing this column, on Tuesday morning, I’m not even sure if we will be able to hit the shelves next week or going forward because, following President Ramaphosa’s address and lockdown announcement on Monday night, things are not going to be the same at all. The company, Media 24, had a meeting on Tuesday morning to look into the way forward and we will keep you posted on what happens in the next three weeks. We have already put systems in place, to continue serving you with your favourite newspaper regardless of what the outcome of the meeting will be. The bottom line is that you, our wonderful readers, will not suffer any more than you already have with this virus. For now, let us all stay safe and believe that we will get through this!