NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 14 – Bandari’s Burundian shot stopper Justin Ndikumana says he is lucky to continue training after jetting back to his native home in Bujumbura, Burundi, immediately after the Kenyan Premier League was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Up until Monday, the Burundi Premier League was the only African league to continue despite the lockdowns caused by the virus, but it has now been halted to allow for the national elections.
Life is still going on normally in Burundi which has so far reported five cases of the virus with one death. No lockdowns have been enforced, but residents have just been urged to maintain the World Health organization regulations to avoid the spread of the virus.
“There are several national team players who are home from Tanzania and Rwanda and the national team coach has organized some sessions in the morning at the Technical Centre in Ngagara. Also, there is a goalkeeper coach who has gathered some of us for training sessions at his academy and that has helped us keep fit,” Ndikumana told Capital Sports from Burundi.
He jetted back home on March 17 and has continued to train every day from then on.
“I feel very lucky because it is different from training in the house. In the field at least we can do physical exercises, we can run, kick the ball and most of the times we have 11 v 11 matches to keep us match fit. I feel for my fellow brothers who can’t have access to such,” he said.
He added; “I am constantly in communication with them and we are all trying to keep positive. At this time we just need to encourage everyone to follow the government directives and ensure we defeat this virus.”
Meanwhile, the goalkeeper who was part of Burundi’s squad at the African Cup of Nations in Egypt says whether or not the leagues will end will be dictated by the best practice by both UEFA and FIFA.
“At this point, health is the most important thing so let’s see how everything goes. We have nine games remaining in the season and it might take maybe a month or two to finish the season. That will mean next season will start late but as players these are sacrifices we must be ready to take,”
“We are used to the season ending then we have a whole month of rest but as it looks now, we will have limited time in between, not unless they say the season is scrapped and we start afresh,” he noted.
All football leagues and European competitions have been halted and none has been cancelled so far, save for the Belgian top tier which was brought to an end with one match remaining.
-Photos courtesy Bandari FC/Twitter