Coronavirus has made a huge impact on a large number of sports events around the world.
Passionate sports fans are worried for their health, of course, but there’s no denying that they’re wondering if the industry will ever start up again. Zambia has been quite well-insulated from the problems surrounding coronavirus up to now, but with the first death in the country recorded recently, there are indications that it has to catch up to the rest of the world with its reaction to the pandemic.
The Zambian president recently announced that all large gatherings are banned and shops are to close, which means that sporting events have all been cancelled for the foreseeable future. This has had a big effect on the online rugby betting sites, as there are no longer any games for gamblers to wager on.
It’s not just the betting that’s been affected, though: with no matches to play, there is also no revenue available with which to pay players.
Let’s take a deeper look at how the coronavirus panic has disrupted rugby across Zambia.
International rugby was actually the first sport to be cancelled. Although Zambia was one of the last countries to see deaths caused by the virus, the prevalence of coronavirus in other countries meant that it wasn’t sensible to play international fixtures that would see players flying all over the world. This was, quite rightly, seen as a risk not worth taking.
The different Rugby Unions all across Africa, and in fact the rest of the world too, felt it was the best decision to call off any international rugby games. This affected some qualifying games for the 2021 World Cup, which was obviously the most pertinent issue.
It wasn’t just the full international games that were ruled out, either. The Under 20s World Championships were supposed to start in June, but they have been cancelled too.
This fallout is likely to be ongoing for some time, as there has been no date mentioned in regards to rugby starting up again. It’s unlikely that there will be international fixtures in the near future, mainly because different countries are all at different points in the spread of the virus. Unnecessary travel across the world is likely to be discouraged until all countries have the virus under control, or an effective vaccine is developed.
Even so, it’s likely that the first international fixtures will be played behind closed doors in order to limit the risk of large crowds setting off another spike in the spread of the virus.
Because Zambia was one of the last countries to succumb to coronavirus, the domestic rugby league actually managed to start. On the 14th of March, the current champions of the
Zambian league were able to begin the season. But by the 25th of March, things were totally different, as the Zambian President called for all large gatherings to be halted.
While it’s not quite as bad as some other leagues in other countries and other sports, it still means that the season had to be suspended just after it had gotten started.
The first game of the season was between the Red Arrows, the reigning champions, and the Mufulira Hunters. The game went well for the Red Arrows as they cruised to a 31 – 3 victory, giving them belief that they will be able to retain the title this season. The problem now is that no-one knows when the season will be up and running again, or whether the Arrows will be able to keep the momentum going after the enforced break.
As Zambia is still managing to keep cases relatively low at present, optimists hope that its rugby games could start before other countries’, but currently it’s still unknown whether this is likely to be the case. Whatever happens, fans will feel as if they have a lot of catching up to do once their favourite sport gets underway again.