By Oyediji Oluwaseun Babatunde
Sports Writer, Nigeria

In a video released on Confederation of African Football, CAF social media handles, African referees delivered messages aimed at curbing the spread of CoronaVirus, COVID-19 pandemic.

The six minutes: forty-five seconds video saw referees and instructors from South Africa, Ghana, Gambia, Ethiopia, Algeria, Senegal, Cameroon, Angola, Tunisia, Benin Republic, and Nigeria dishing out safety precautions as they await the resumption of football activities across the globe.

Below are the excerpts from their messages:

Victor Gomes, South Africa
“I will like to remind you to stay safe during this pandemic that we are experiencing around the world. COVID-19 can be beaten. We have to work together. Remember, stay safe, stay fit and we will see on the field.”

Daniel Laryea, Ghana
“I urge you all to observe all the safety measures during this pandemic season. Stay safe, stay at home, and keep training. This is just a storm. It is going to be over soon. We are going to bounce back.”

Bakary Gassama, Gambia
“On this CoronaVirus pandemic, it can be defeated. How can we defeat it? Let’s listen to the advice of medical personnel and do as they say. Stay at home and keep fit. See you soon on the field. Thank you.”

Bamlak Tessema, Ethiopia
During this COVID-19 pandemic in the world, I will like to ask you to follow the advice of the World Health Organization in order to tackle this pandemic. Stay safe and stay fit. We will meet very soon on the field. Thank you.”

Maguette Ndiaye, Senegal
In order to avoid CoronaVirus, put on your mask when you go out. When you come back home, wash your hands with soap. Please stay at home to safe your lives and save others. Thank you.”

Felicia Okonji, CAF Referee Instructor, Nigeria
Hello, wonderful CAF family. In this period of COVID-19, CAF wants you to remain safe. Obey the directives given by the government and health authorities. Wash your hands regularly with soap under running water or use hand sanitizer. Most importantly, stay at home. If you must go out, please use your face mask and maintain social distancing. While at home, try to keep fit by exercising. See you soon on the field of play. Always remember that CAF Cares.”

Other referees like Mustapha Ghorbal of Algeria, Jerson Emiliano Dos Santos of Angola, Dorsaf Ganouati of Tunisia, and Christelle Aurore Ligan of Benin Republic spoke in their native and official languages in Arabic, French, and Portuguese.

The outbreak of COVID-19 has led to the postponement of major football games across Africa like the CAF Champions League, Confederation Cup, 2020 FIFA U-17 and U-20 Women’s World Cup Qualifiers, 2021 African Cup of Nations AFCON Qualifiers, 2020 African Women’s Cup of Nations AWCON Qualifiers and various leagues across the continent.

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