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Namibian Sport To Open Up

Stephen Baard in action for Namibia.
The Namibia Sport Commission last week gave 26 sport codes the go-ahead to start training during Stage 2 of the lockdown under strict regulations of social distancing, sanitisation and limiting participants to a maximum of 10 per group.

Cricket is one of the codes that will start training today, with the CEO of Cricket Namibia, Johan Muller saying they will start with training sessions for their various high performance age groups, as well as the national senior team. He, however, emphasised that they will adhere to the national regulations. “We will only train in groups of four to eight with a coach. Each session will be about 90 minutes and we will then stagger training sessions with different groups over the day,” he said. "We will have to train with face masks and we will have to sanitise and maintain social distancing, but I suppose that's the new normal,” he added.

The national squad has been following a strength and conditioning fitness course from home in preparation for the T20 World Cup and Muller said they should soon be back at their optimum level. "I'd say the players are now even fitter than they were before, but their skills might have dipped a bit. But we are about the only country in the world that can start training again, so we'd like to make use of this opportunity to stay ahead of the pack.” Muller said the T20 World Cup, which is scheduled to take place in Australia in October, was still on track, while they hoped to reschedule some other Tri-Nations series in the Cricket World Cup League 2 tournament.

“We were supposed to host Scotland and Nepal in April, but we are looking to reschedule it for either the end of August, early October or in November. Then we are also due to host the United States and Papua New Guinea in September, so our primary focus is to try and save these tournaments,” he said.

With most of the local leagues already having been concluded, only the Franchise T20 League is still incomplete and Muller said they still planned to complete it. "We aim to complete the Franchise T20 tournament before the start of the new club season towards the end of September. With the schools now reopening on 3 August, we will also shift the school tournaments that normally took place during the August holidays to December,” he said.

Squash resumes

Cricket is just one of several sport codes that makes use of Wanderers' facilities, with the result that the main club will have to monitor all their activities closely, according to the chairman of Wanderers Squash Club, Jacques van der Smit. "Wanderers is a big club with different codes, so they will have to come up with their own measures which will include how they will allow access and how they will manage it all within the ambit of the regulations,” he said.

Regarding squash, he said that they will reopen this morning, under the regulations as set out by the NSC. "A maximum of ten players (and no spectators) will be allowed in the building at a time, while an attendance register for contact tracing must be completed by all. Besides that the courts will be cleaned daily and sanitisers will be provided but players must bring their own towels,” he said.

"We might also consider limiting the number of courts from four to three. Our aim is to comply with the government's measures and protect our measures as best we can. I have to deal with so many frustrated members now, but we have taken a conservative approach to this global pandemic and they must just bear with us,” he added.

The vice president of the Namibian Cycling Federation, Nick du Plessis said not much has changed for them. "We were allowed to train before, but we were limited to three per group, so we will just continue under the new guidelines,” he said. "We are busy planning our cycling programme and have been discussing it with the NSC, but it still needs to be finalised,” he added.

With the road race season having been completed, the mountain bike season is due to start, but Du Plessis said that cycling was also adapting to the circumstances. Ä number of cyclists have been training via a computer programme on their home trainers, while a Namibian virtual racing league has also been started, so we might look at some of these aspects in future,” he said.

The president of the Namibia Tennis Association, Sam Kaulinge, said they will also start practising today under the new regulations."The players are allowed to practise, but only in singles matches. They are not allowed to shake hands, when they change sides they have to do so at opposite ends, and they must bring their own towels. The individual clubs will have to monitor their movements closely and make sure there are not too many people on the courts.

Kaulinge said they hoped to reschedule some tournaments to later in the year. "We were supposed to have hosted a couple of tournaments by now, including an International Tennis Federation junior tournament, but we are monitoring the situation and will see if we can reschedule it to the end of September,” he said.
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