There were plans to resume both the men’s second division and women’s football leagues this month but the recurrence of the highly infectious COVID-19 Delta variant in Rwanda has left the football governing body running out of options.
According to numbers from Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC), a total of 12,084 cases were reported within the month of June, doubling the previous prominent month of January 2021 with 6,927 cases.
The government has since imposed strict guidelines to contain the pandemic after June recorded the highest number of Covid-19 cases since the first patient was discovered in March last year.
The new Covid-19 Delta variant forced the national football team to pull out of the CECAFA U-23 tournament which kicks off in Bahir-Dar, Ethiopia this weekend while different local competitions from different sports disciplines were postponed again.
Every football fan in the country is wondering which teams will replace relegated AS Muhanga and Sunrise FC since FERWAFA remains undecided over whether the second division league will take place or be canceled for the second time in a row while the same applies to the women’s football league.
The current spike in cases of covid-19 and the existence of covid-19 Delta variant signaled that both competitions could be moved to a later date but clubs in both the second division and women football league are in a dilemma as Ferwafa is yet to communicate new developments.
For instance, the women’s football league is scheduled for July 31, but no team has started training sessions due to stringent restrictions to mitigate spread of Covid-19.
“The last communication we have is that the women’s football league will start on July 31 but the current situation does not allow us to go for training and, to our surprise, we haven’t heard any updates from them ever since,” said Mark Ndarama, the president of Gisagara-based Youvia Women football club.
Asked if there is any alternative plan for the second division and women’s leagues, Ferwafa’s Secretary-General, Regis Uwayezu said that the federation has ‘updates as of now’.
Ferwafa vice-president, Marcel Habyarimana, told media that the football governing body was looking for the best format under which the second division will be held.
“The cases are on the rise again, but if the pandemic relaxes we will discuss with our technical team and look at the best format under which the league in both categories can be played. Next season’s top flight league could even be delayed so that the second division and women’s league happen,” Habyarimana told the press last month.