The Eswatini Football Association (EFA) has come up with a strategy for the resumption of football competitions. This strategy is yet to be presented to Government and the pertinent stakeholders. Speaking in a press conference, the General Secretary (GS) of the EFA Mr. Frederick Mngomezulu highlighted that the strategy is categorised into four phases. Of great significance within the implementation of the strategy there will be weekly COVID-19 tests, with expected regular daily screening of players, officials, match officials and appropriate working staff, as they attend their training, preparation programme and matches.
“The football association has developed a four-phased strategy comprising of the biological, preparation, pre-competition and competition phases”, Mngomezulu said. The biological phase is a pre-preparation period where the major activities will revolve around the preparation of football clubs, match venues and appropriate legislations for the resumption of football competitions and the larger business of football. “This will be the most critical stages where there will be testing of football players, officials, and match officials to establish the COVID-19 status including the preparation of match venues and appropriate regulations”, the GS stated. If the health condition in terms of the COVID-19 status quo improves, an adjustment to this phase can be made in such a way that it is reduced to two weeks instead of three.
The preparation phase involves the resumption of training of football clubs, which has also been divided to individual training sub-phases to take one week, and group training sub-phases to take two weeks. “This phase will take a total of three weeks, when taking into the account the one week individual training and two weeks group training”, Mngomezulu said. If the COVID-19 status quo improves, this phase will be increased to two weeks instead of one week.
The pre-competition phase will be the period when the whole teams will train including the playing of practice matches. This will be a one week phase. Finally, the competition phase will be basically the implementation of the competitions. “This phase will take eight weeks; and could be extended to ten weeks depending on the concluding rounds of competitions, some which may need to be played concurrently hence requiring on extended time”, the GS stated.
This whole strategy is estimated to take 14 weeks, a period which could be extended to 16 weeks, in the event the competition phase is extended by 2 weeks. The estimated commencement of this strategy is the 15th June 2020 depending on the discussion and conventions with the Government of the Kingdom of Eswatini and pertinent stakeholders.