South Sudan cup qualifying matches to kick off in Bor despite Covid-19 lockdown
The football tournament for qualification to the 2021 South Sudan Cup will start in the Jonglei State capital, Bor, on Saturday despite COVID-19 lockdown, the Bor Local Football Association (BOLFA) has announced.
The resumption of football matches come almost a year after the government imposed a lockdown, suspending all public gatherings as part of the measures to help control the spread of Covid-19 in the country.
Speaking to Radio Tamazuj on Wednesday, John Ayor, the BOLFA’s Secretary-General said all the matches will start on Saturday, February 27, and will run until mid-March, with adherence to Covid-19 safety measures.
“24 teams will participate in the tournament. 10 from the 1st Division, 11 from the 2nd division, and only 3 teams from the 3rd Division because most of the matches from this group were played last year before the lockdown. Two matches will be played on a daily basis as the tournament will run for 21 days, “Ayor explained.
He added, “Teams have been made aware of COVID-19 measures. So, it will be ensured that no clubs will invite their fans because we do not want overcrowding.”
The sports official pointed out the team which will be crowned as the champion after the tournament shall represent Jonglei in a national tournament known as South Sudan Cup to be played on a later date in Juba.
David Kuol Ateny, the head of coaches in Jonglei, welcomed the resumption of football matches after one year of suspension due to the covid-19 pandemic.
Kuol, who also serves as White Bull FC Coach, said his team is prepared to observe the Covid-19 measures and take part in the tournament.
“We are really happy that we are resuming on Saturday after one year. And as a club, we will make sure that we abide by all the measures set out there to provide protection from Covid-19,” he said.
When asked whether police are prepared to ensure that Covid-19 protocols are observed during the matches, Lt. Col John Mawut, the state police spokesperson, said they have yet to be officially informed about the football tournament.
On Saturday, Atlabara FC was crowned as the Champion for Juba Local Football Association’s South Sudan Cup, 2021 after beating Gudele FC 3-1, meaning Atlabara FC will face the champions from the rest of the states to determine a team that will represent South Sudan in the continental CECAFA tournament.