Coaches and analysts in the country have welcomed the resuming of sports activities, and say that this will benefit everyone involved with it.
While the athletes will receive a natural immunity boost from playing, which will help them during the COVID-19 pandemic, sports are also a great source of entertainment for the fans. Coaches, on the other hand, can resume preparing their players for professional matches.
Their comments came after the decision was made to resume sports tournaments in Oman, although people are not allowed to attend them.
Shiv Gupta, a sports analyst and owner of a cricket academy in the country, said this was something many were looking forward to.
“Sports is directly related to immunity, because when you play sports, the hormones that your body releases act as a natural immunity booster,” he said. “It also helps burn fat which leads to a reduction of other health problems.
Gupta added: “We have looked forward to the return of sports. It is a great way for us to get together as a family right now, because gathering outside in large numbers is still not allowed. We gather around at about 6pm, and by the time the matches are over, it is about 10 or 11pm, so this fits well into our schedule, and we can then prepare for the next day.”
Contributing to this, Chuck Martini, the head of the Muscat Football Academy, welcoming the development, hoped fans would soon be allowed to support their teams in person.
Speaking on the impact of the pandemic, he said, “This has really thrown a lot of team sports, and we were waiting to find out how we were going to come back to playing. We now seem to be heading towards a transitory period where players are tested, and social distancing is in place…that will of course help.
“We are in a situation where it is still difficult to see what lies ahead,” added the former Leicester City and Morocco international goalkeeper. “We hope and we pray that this pandemic ends soon and that we are able to return to our normal lives. All of us miss sports as a part of life, because it plays a big role in today’s society. The players would have missed it, the coaches would have missed it, and of course, the fans would’ve missed it.”
With both coaches running academies, they say it will not be possible for children to return to playing team sports immediately, until the rules regarding social distancing and hygiene are properly understood and practiced by them.
Martini said: “In a team sport, you may not be able to play sports immediately, but we can still work on our technique, on aspects such as passing, shooting or dribbling…things that don’t necessarily have to be team-related. I’ve been telling our children to follow their training, and make sure they maintain their technique.”
Shiv Gupta added: “Six months ago, it would have been impossible to ask children not to mingle, celebrate or interact together during a game, but now, they have seen it on TV, and the way they need to behave has now entered their mind. Even professional athletes do not celebrate when they win, so the children know how they have to behave and will take the lead from them.
He went on to say, “Our academy is waiting to resume operations, and we will have all of the required procedures in place. It is natural that parents will be cautious to send their children at first, but they also know that they have been at home too long, that their children need to play sports, and they are still keen to send their young ones, so I am confident we will be up and running soon.” According to guidelines issued by the Supreme Committee, and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth Affairs, sports organizations must follow the health guidelines issued by the international federations that govern each game.
All sports centers are to be sterilized before being reopened, and must have specialists with the equipment required to ensure all player health concerns are met before matches begin. Safety instructions that need to be followed must be displayed in all public areas, as well as all relevant social media channels.
Direct physical contact between players must be avoided, while players and technical staff need to be periodically tested for COVID-19. All employees inside the family must wear masks, and players are to only use their own sports equipment.
The ministry has also asked that people do not mingle once the game is over, but rather exit the premises immediately. All those present must also wash their hands and face frequently, and wear appropriate clothing.
© Muscat Media Group