COVID-19 : Football enthusiasts, Punters react to shut down
By Femi Atolagbe
Sports, especially football enthusiasts across Ondo State have described their weekend without the usual English Premier League , Laliga, Budeslinga and others as boring and uninteresting.
Some of the viewing centers visited by Sporting Hope within Akure metropolis were under lock and key as no activities took place.
In an interview with Mr Peter Chawai, he said I feel sick without watching weekend games, and engaging in argument at the viewing center, because I always keep myself busy on weekends with football after weekly hustle.
“Now that I’m forced to sit at home due to the outbreak of coronavirus, I have now switched to reading and chatting with friends. My prayer is that we are able to tame the virus as soon as possible.”
Master Tolu Akinwumi and Miss Sarah Abejoye, in their comments, commended the government at all levels for the precautionary measures put in place ,they reiterated that their weekend without football both local and international is somehow bored and uninteresting.
A viewing center owner , Mr Arowolo Abimbola, said the outbreak of the coronavirus that lockdown the entire world had done harm to his business in many ways .
He said, “DSTV monthly subscription is running with no show, we will pay for rent, BEDC will also come with their monthly bill without considering the unexpected that befell the business. We pray that government contain the spread of the pandemic on time before it get out of hands.”
Punters are not left out of this, some of them who spoke with Sporting Hope under the condition of anonymity, said COVID -19 have blocked their alternative source of income.
“We play game at least three to four times in a week, which has been helping in keeping our bodies and souls together in this tough time . Now that Coronavirus has forced all the major leagues to stop, we are left with our destiny.
Our prayer now is that may God send the virus back to where it came from by fire by thunder, because it has affected our source of income. Betting has reduced the high level of crime in the state and in the country at large,” they stated.
Mr Peter Babalola, owner of a betting franchise with a popular betting company in the country, joined others to call on the government to be more proactive in taming the virus .
He said, “the COVID -19 has crippled my business to the extent that I couldn’t meet up my target with the company which invariably affected my commission.
“Since Sporting activities has been put on hold worldwide, nobody is coming to play game anymore. This is where I feed my family , we beg our government to laise with their foreign counterparts to turn the tide against the pandemic before it becomes a monster.
In compliance with government directive that people should avoid crowded places, Sporting Hope gathered that people now sit in clusters playing Draught, Ludo game, Cards games and others that does not involve more than two to four people.