Different national sports federations have postponed competitions due to government instructions and clubs have suspended training camps, but the gathering of students at playgrounds around the city continues despite the outbreak of coronavirus.
Yesterday afternoon, more than a hundred boys, split into at least 10 groups, were seen playing cricket and football matches on the sand-filled Brothers Union ground in Gopibag.
Only some were wearing masks while sprinting about and making body contact while chasing after balls or running between wickets.
Confining students to their homes has become tough for guardians. Some boys said that although they were aware of the coronavirus, they could not keep themselves from sport and had snuck away from parents.
“I learned about the coronavirus by watching television, but we can’t keep ourselves from playing games because we only get two days in a week to play,” said Rakib Khan, a grade-8 student at Mitali High School.
“My mother and elder brothers advised me to stay inside but I came out of the house in the afternoon despite my fears of the coronavirus,” Sahil Islam, another grade-8 student at the same school, said.
Sakib Khan, a grade-3 student, was prudent in wearing a mask and said he was taking other precautions but could not resist the field’s aura.
“I wore a mask to avoid coronavirus as well as to avoid dust. We come here twice a week. We know we should stay home, but we can’t be confined because we are habituated to playing sports. But we wash our hands and face with soap when we return.”
“We have seen in the media that young guys are at less risk than the older population, so we dared to come here and play cricket,” Mashrafe Mahi, who sat for his SSC exam from Motitjheel Govt. High School, said.
“Nothing will happen to us because the situation is not at its worst in Bangladesh,” said Ayon of Nababpur High School.
Brothers Union official Masum Ali said the club would take stricter measures in the future: “We can’t stop boys from entering the ground because they regularly gather here to play football and cricket. However, most of the boys are not from Gopibagh area. We are going to hang a notice restricting entrance tomorrow and will deploy people to stop them from tomorrow.”
Some boys were also seen playing at the Abahani ground although the club authority imposed restrictions on playing at the ground by suspending all cricket and football coaching centers on March 15.
They jumped over the fence and entered, saying that they did not feel good at home so they came out to play at the Abahani ground, a place where, until recently, guardians would be littered around and watching their children train.
The BFF yesterday locked its artificial turfs, where some 250 to 300 footballers from the adjacent area trained regularly, while Sheikh Jamal also locked their ground, only allowing its football team to train there.
“The government closed the schools so that children stay home. If they come to play on the BFF astro-turf, then the government initiative won’t be successful. That’s why we locked the ground for 10 days upon recommendations from a few members of the BFF executive board. We also discussed it with the residents of Arambagh,” said BFF general secretary Abu Nayeem Shohag.