Kabale District secondary schools will not participate in this year’s Copa Coca-Cola inter-schools competitions. The competitions are slated to kick off early next month.
Each student studying in schools registered under the Association of secondary school Head teachers of Uganda-ASSHU-Kabale pays 2,000 shillings to help the school participate in sports and other co-curricular activities per term.
Joseph Akankwasa, Kabale district ASSHU Sports Committee Chairman who is also the Head teacher of Rukore Secondary School in Ndorwa west county says that the association has resolved to suspend this year’s sports activities and co-curricular activities as a way of containing the spread of Covid-19.
Akankwasa argues that the association has foreseen that the activities will attract spectators to converge at respective playgrounds, which could risk spreading the Covid-19 pandemic.
This has sparked off anger among sports enthusiasts in the district. They accuse ASSHU of passing a decision based on their own personal benefits and intentionally failing the sports talents of students.
Onesmus Rukundo Rurihoona , the Kigezi Region Chairperson of the Sports Committee of ASSHU says that the decision is unfair and could affect the talents of students who have not taken part in any sports activity since 2019.
Frank Mutaremwa, Chairperson of Kabale District Football Association says that as a sports fan, the decision by the secondary school sports committee to suspend sports activities is disappointing because it is an opportunity to spot young talented players for clubs and universities.
He also wonders why ASSHU suspended the sports activities yet it is part of the curriculum provided by the ministry of education and sports.
Gilbert Ngyendo Kigezi Sub-region Copa Coca-cola Technical Director says that his office was not consulted about the decision to suspend the competition.
Alfred Besigensi , Kabale Acting district health officer distances himself from the matter saying that there is no health directive that has been issued by his department regarding the competition.
Ketty Lamaro, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education and Sports says that the ministry is against the decision by ASSHU-Kabale. Lamoro says that the ministry has adequately guided on the continuity of sports activities amid a tight academic calendar which requires compensations for time lost by schools during the Covid-19 lockdown.
At the beginning of the year, the Ministry of Education said that participants in sports activities be well sensitized about Covid-19 and follow all Covid-19 preventive guidelines.
The letter also guides that all participants be tested for Covid-19 before 72 hours of arrival of the activities. Organizers are also required to conduct daily screening of participants for Covid-19 symptoms like temperature above 37.5°C, flue and running nose, sore throat and cough, difficulty in breathing, loss of smell and taste, and fatigue among others.