All handicap golf competitions have been suspended in Kenya for the next 30 days, the Kenya Golf Union has directed, after a spate of “non-compliance” by golfers in the country who continued to play despite stringent lockdown measures to contain coronavirus.
“The Kenya Golf Union has taken the unprecedented action of suspending all handicaps in the country for a period of 30 days. All clubs are therefore not allowed to hold any competitions that require golf handicaps for this period,” a statement signed by Kenya Golf Union chairman Antony Murage read.
“All club houses must be closed forthwith. Golfers must not be allowed to access the club house for any services whatsoever,” the statement added.
Murage explained that the Ministry’s directive was due to the “noncompliance of many golfers who continued to congregate within the club premises in direct contravention of the current directive given to help stop the spread of Covid-19.”
That directive had come from Kenyan Minister of Health Mutahi Kagwe, who ordered the closure of all golf clubs in the country, a
directive that many Kenyan golfers have been ignoring.
Despite suspending handicap competitions and closure of club houses, self-caddied players are allowed to continue playing alone, in twos or threes.
The clubs will be open to members only with no guests or reciprocation allowed, however clubs must ensure there won’t be congregation on the clubs premises.
“Golfers can play golf as long as they do not use the services of caddies and strictly maintaining social distancing. The starting intervals must be at least ten minutes and golfers must not gather at the starters,” Murage said
With golfers not allowed to use caddie services during this period, the KGU has further directed clubs to set up a caddie welfare fund to support the caddies.
Some of the golf clubs which had already put the government’s directive into action include Karen Country Club, Royal Nairobi Golf Club and Thika Golf Club.
“Following the Government’s directive through the Ministry of with immediate effect,” said a statement signed by Captain Dougic Duncanson and Lady Captain Rose Mambo of Karen Country Club.
Health, please note that the golf course and the practice range have been closed indefinitely with immediate effect,” said a statement signed by Captain Dougic Duncanson and Lady Captain Rose Mambo of Karen Country Club.
The Royal Golf Course and Thika Sports Club have also closed their entire golf courses for the next 21 days and until further notice respectively.
Kenya has a growing interest in golf internationally, having hosted two European tours last year – The Magical Kenya Open and the Magical Kenya Ladies Open.
In March this year, Kenya was to host its third European Tour event – however the Kenyan government suspended all international meetings and conferences, a decision led to the postponement of the second Magical Kenya Open.
The European Tour Chief Executive Keith Pelley said they were looking into the possibility of rescheduling the tournament at some point later in the season.
“That remains simply a possibility right now – we have no definitive plans at this stage,” Pelley
‘I Can Discover Ballon d’Or Winners In Nigeria’
Ex-Nigeria international Usman Abdallah has declared that he can help the country groom future Ballon d’Or winners if he is handed the U20 job.
Abdallah, who led Enyimba to win the 2019 Nigeria Professional Football League and a Confederation Cup semi-final finish, is favourite to replace Paul Aigbogun for the Flying Eagles’ head coach role.
His outstanding CV features a Uefa A license, a degree in football coaching and team management (France) and a Strength and Conditioning level 1 coaching certificate in Australia.
According to reports, the Nigeria Football Federation will announce the Franco-Nigerian in the coming days, a claim the tactician is unsure of when quizzed by newsmen.
“Just like every other person, I applied for the job but I’m yet to get confirmation if I was picked or not.
“Nigeria is my country and it will be nice if I eventually get this role because it will be a big chance to serve. Also, I have what it takes to discover future Ballon d’Or winners for the country.
“Without sounding immodest, I strongly believe that I will excel in this position not only because of my wealth of experience but because of my closeness to grassroots football.
“As I have always said, this level deserves a lot of serious work because players picked at this level form a pivot of future Super Eagles,”he told newsmen.
After a failed expedition at the 2019 Fifa U20 World Cup in Poland, Nigeria will be hoping to qualify for Indonesia 2021 through the Africa U20 Cup of Nations scheduled for Mauritania.
Champions, Europa Leagues Finals Likely For August
The Champions League and Europa League look increasingly likely to be played exclusively in August after more talks about the remainder of the 2019-20 season on Wednesday.
Uefa told the 55 associations on Tuesday there was still the possibility of the competitions being played throughout June, July and August.
But Tidesports source understands that the latest discussions revolved almost exclusively around a plan to complete the domestic leagues by 31 July, with European competition following after that.
Nothing definitive has been agreed but Uefa is keen to leave all options on the table for as long as possible given the general uncertainty across Europe and in the knowledge there is no guarantee the season will be finished.
However, there is a view that travel restrictions are more likely to have eased in August, which would be necessary for a cross-border competition.
The scenario envisaged would be for the quarter-finals and semi-finals of the respective European competitions to be played as two-legged ties between 11 and 22 August, although these could yet become one-off games.
In the plans now being discussed, there would be some flexibility for domestic fixtures to be played in August, should a July conclusion prove impossible.
The Premier League has nine rounds of fixtures remaining but in Spain and Italy, two countries that have been badly affected, there are still 11 and 12 rounds left respectively – although both have fewer cup games to fit into their schedules.
Uefa hopes the situation will become clearer in the next fortnight but completing the season in this way would cause the least disruption to its qualification competition for the 2020-21 season, which was supposed to start at the end of June but has been delayed indefinitely.
S’Eagles’ll Miss Mikel, Ighalo -Etebo
John Obi Mikel and Odion Ighalo would remain a big miss for Nigeria, concedes Oghenekaro Etebo, with the Super Eagles still coming to terms with their retirement.
After the Super Eagles clinched third-place at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, the duo drew the curtains on their international careers.
Mikel, 32, was the first to bow out before Egypt 2019 top scorer Ighalo followed the path of the former Chelsea star.
Coach Gernot Rohr is prepared to put faith in the likes of Joe Aribo, Alex Iwobi and Victor Osimhen as replacements for the duo.
The Getafe man said it was clear that the three-time African kings would miss Mikel and Ighalo for their leadership attributes, but believes Osimhen can fill the vacuum left by the Manchester United striker.
“They are leaders who we are going to be missed in the dressing room,” he stated.
“Mikel was a leader; I recall how he helped us during the Olympics when we had issues during our preparations for the Games. Not because I played with him but for the impact he had on me as a player.
“They helped the team make vital decisions during tough times and I guess it was just time for them to move on.
“Ighalo on his part is a goal poacher that we also miss but thank God that we have another goal poacher in [Victor] Osimhen, but we have to be patient with him to settle in well into that role.”
After the coronavirus pandemic, Rohr is expected to begin life without the retired players as Nigeria would be hoping to qualify for the 2021 Afcon billed for Cameroon.
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