By Muambo Edward
Football Writer, kick442.com – Cameroon
The Belarusian authorities have issued an order to delay the kickoff of the national women’s football league for fear that the players may have been exposed to the dreaded Coronavirus, but the men’s league continues.
The women’s league was slated to start on Thursday April 16, 2020, but the East European country’s football federation issued an order on Wednesday, suspending the league till further notice.
The federation’s main reason for the abrupt decision is due to the fact that “several” players must have come in contact with “possible carriers” of the dreaded virus.
Belarus has defied the odds and maintained league games in the country’s men’s top flight, with spectators in the stands, making them the only country in Europe to do so in the face of the global Coronavirus pandemic.
The country’s President Alexander Lukashenko has been adamant to calls for a total lockdown to curb the spread of the virus on the country. He even came out himself and took part in an ice hockey game last month with spectators in the stands.
“There is no basis to close down the championship,” Sergei Kovalchuk, the Belarusian Minister of Sports and Tourism said on Belarus 5TV Channel. The Minister was speaking prior to the announcement of the suspension of the women’s league.
Despite the fact that the government has insisted on the men’s league to carry on, atttendance has drastically dropped in last couple of weeks.
Many fans have chosen to stay home and there have also been organized fans boycotts from all the 16 clubs in the country’s top flight.
There has however been a bright side to the problem, as the league has attracted football hungry fans from other countries under lockdown and the league has signed new broadcasting deals with foreign TV channels craving to broadcast live football.
25-year-old Cameroon international defender Alvine Emma Njolle Ngonja’s Minsk who have won the last seven league titles in Belarus are one of the eight Belarusian Women’s Premier League teams to wait for a new date for the kickoff of the championship.
Meanwhile, Day 5 and 6 matches of the men’s league continues this weekend, with 25-year-old Cameroon defender Gaby Junior Kiki of Dinamo Brest and 24-year-old forward Junior Atemengue Awono of Energetyk-BGU in action.
With a total population of about 9,500,000 people, the country has recorded about 3750 Coronavirus infections with close to 40 deaths.
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