It’s so depressing that we’re still living with Covid-19 chaos.
Two huge issues came to the fore again this week in the football world – one affecting us at home and another abroad.
Let’s start with the bad news.
After 18 months of death, suffering and misinformation, people – leaders and the general public – still can’t their facts straight during the pandemic.
I would have hoped that by now we’d all be on the same page when it comes to getting ourselves out of this mess.
But here we are after all this time – still sukkelling.
On Sunday, that disconnect came to a head on a soccer pitch in Rio de Janeiro when Brazil hosted Argentina in a World Cup qualifier.
World football governing body Fifa and world governments have different rules concerning the travel of players for international competition.
And government regulations change with the demands of suppressing the surges of new Covid variants. So the current international window was always going to be a tricky one.
Premier League clubs looked at the UK government’s strict rules on travel to red-list countries – a 14-day quarantine – and made a pact not to release players to those countries.
On the other side, Brazil’s leaders had a 10-day quarantine in place for travellers from the UK, so any player who was coming from the Premier League would have been in danger of missing games anyway.
Plus that’s a 24-day stay in a hotel all alone after you’ve finished your round-trip, with no leave to train.
Weighed up against Fifa’s five-day automatic restrictions for not releasing players for internationals, I know what my decision would have been.
Brazil’s health agency Anvisa decided to enforce their laws, blocking Argentina’s four UK-based players and forcing the game to be abandoned.
And their football federation is set to punish Prem clubs for not releasing their eight players.
Had Brazil had their eight players (who are exempt from their restrictions as nationals), do you think they would have made such a big deal about the travelling Argies?
It would have been a cold thing to do. But I highly doubt it, since the Argentine FA and Fifa both believed that the same regulations from the recent Copa America were still in effect.
After Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez stopped Neymar hulle in the final a couple of months ago, I guess the mense were still a bietjie bitterbek.
Either way, if sport is supposed to continue, then there must be uniform regulations for teams to travel between countries or this will happen again.
Sort it out Fifa. The World Cup is next year and forget about your plans to host an international tournament every off-season.
Now let’s get into some good news.
With South African Rugby this week confirming that the Cape Town Sevens would be cancelled for a second year running, I was not expecting any good news soon.
After 18 months of empty stadiums, silence has been the name of the game when it comes to talk about getting the gees back in our sport.
But the good news finally came.
Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa on Wednesday announced a new campaign to get the fans returning.
The “Return to Play – It’s In Your Hands” drive will effectively make a show of opening up the sporting events to those of the public who have been vaccinated against Covid-19.
There will be free tickets for the vaccinated to some events – starting with Bafana’s home qualifier against Ethiopia next month.
But with still just 10 percent of the population with the jabs, there is still a long way to go.
Let’s be real, the pandemic has been tough.
Apart from the death and health issues, we are also suffering economically. People have lost jobs and income.
And going to sports events is not really that important in the bigger scheme of things.
Put like Pope John Paul II said: “Of all the unimportant things, football is the most important.”
The only way of getting the important things back is to secure our health and beat this pandemic.
I had a bout of Covid. And it wasn’t great. I had to steam with bloekomolie and get an asthma pump. It was not as bad as the 84 000 people who have died from the virus.
I’m going for my second jab at the end of the month now.
It keeps my family protected and those who I come in contact with.
I’ve played my part, so my son can also have a normal life, kicking a ball in the park with other kids, safely.
I understand the people have a choice, but please people, get the right information before making your decisions.
There is a lot of fake news about the vaccine, but mense have been improving vaccination science since Edward Jenner first experimented with smallpox back in 1757, and Louis Pasteur in the 1800s.
It’s 2021. Get the info, get the vaccine and let’s get back to living.