Fear Of ‘Ebola’ Could Hamper Turnout At Sports Events…As Basketball League Opens

The fear of people coming in contact with people from diverse localities in an attempt to take preventive measures against the spread of the deadly ‘Ebola Virus’ could hamper the turnout at most pending sports events, with basketball fans already expressing fear over attending the National Basketball new League Season which is to be held at the Open Air Sports Commission on Broad Street.

Several supporters and fans of various basketball teams in Liberia have raised serious alarm over the timing of the 2014-2015 Liberia Basketball Association (LBA), national league season opening, stressing that there is a need to readjust owing to the fear of Ebola, the region’s emerging killing virus.

Speaking to the INQUIRER Newspaper in Monrovia, the basketball fans who were in huge attendance asserted that they foresee a very low turnout during the early stages of the LBA League; and therefore urged the LBA’s authority to be very cognizant of the national emergency health situation.

“We are basketball fans but with the news that ‘Ebola’ can be easily transmitted through bodily contacts, it will be difficult for our parents to allow some of us to attend these games. We are not saying that the basketball players will have or have Ebola. “We are only looking at the precautionary measure,” the fans stated.

Some of the fans who claimed they are high-school students but would like to attend most of the LBA’s National League games, said, “It is advisable for sports administrators to respect the message from the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare as it relates to avoiding public gathering or gathering of people of different kinds.”

“Most of us will not come to the games; our parents will not permit us. So we think the best way is to wait until this virus issue can subside and then go ahead with the league. That virus is very deadly and so it must claim all of us attention. Everybody needs to be concerned about this; the time is not passing. In anyway, we will still have to host the LBA National League but the timing is not right, ” the fans indicated.

The National Basketball League is being held at the Open Air Sports Commission on Broad Street. For years now, basketball has not had a covered venue, thus making it very impossible to continue with the league during the raining season. At times, the authority of the local basketball association takes chances in the absence of a sign of rain on the day of a pending game. Games are mostly postponed during the raining season due to the lack of shelter over the court.

Also speaking to the INQUIRER was the Technical Director of C-Delta, one of the leading female basketball teams in the LBA’s league, Oliver Menyongar, who also said that the timing of the league opening is not right taking into account that the rainy season is imminent.

The C-Delta’s Executive indicated that the LBA’s authority failed to take into consideration the atmosphere under which they intend to commence the national league and warned that if there will be no readjustment it will have serious consequences on the teams.

“In fact, why should the league start this late when the league finally came to an end September 2013; they need to explain the real story. Nobody knows why the LBA took five months after the league closed to reopen the league. That is completely strange; they had no reason for starting the league this late,” Mr. Menyongar added.

On the issue of being supportive in the preventive drive against the spread of the Ebola Virus, Mr. Manyongar said, “I also think that sporting federations and associations should be involved with this national emergency on the issue of the Ebola Virus by taking precautionary measures against spreading the virus. But one thing I cannot speak to for sure, is whether the LBA should suspend the league until otherwise.”

Menyongar added, “I will agree with the concern raised by some of our fans, which is true; we must be strategic in dealing with this Ebola situation or else Liberians could face the aftermath of being lackadaisical. Again, it is a tough decision to take but let’s wait and see.”

At a Press conference called by the Ministry of Information recently, Minister Gwenigale was clear about how far the disease can go in trampling on people’s right to associate and now it seems the most fundamental right to be together as a couple and the tie that binds (SEX) is under attack.

The World Health Organization office in Liberia in collaboration with the Ministry of Health noted that the virus attacks the vascular system in the blood and it takes about 45 days before an area is declared clear of the disease. The Ministry said the incubation period for this disease is from 3 to21 days.

Meanwhile, the Liberia Basketball Association (LBA) 2014 National League Season kicked-off yesterday at the Open Air Sports Commission on Broad Street.

Defending champions, LPRC Oilers battled the newly promoted Bardnersville Celtics in the day’s big match, which started at 6:30 p.m. Celtics won the Second Division Championship last term.

The LBA held its official closing program on March 25, 2014, where they announced that the league will open on Wednesday, April 2, 2014. When our sports desk contacted the LBA Boss to comment on the delayed opening of the league, Mr. Rufus Anderson’s 0886514564 contact number rank repeatedly without any response. Mr. Anderson was contacted more than once.   D. Webster Cassell writes