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MBABANE – The emergence of COVID-19 has derailed the development of wheelchair basketball.

The effects go beyond the economy and human prosperity but have an immeasurable negative impact on the development of sports as a whole. One of the newly-introduced sports in the country, wheelchair basketball, which was introduced in 2018, is not an exception. Having started with only one team in Manzini, the sport gained popularity and gave birth to the capital city’s competitors in Mbabane Basketball team.

Basketball player Vusi Ndlangamandla disclosed some of the challenges that resulted from the spread of the virus, which forced the shutdown of recreational facilities such as the Coronation Park, the training ground for ball games like netball, basketball, volleyball and tennis.


“COVID-19 was a huge let-down for wheelchair basketball. We cannot go for training and home training is tough since our balls were not made to be played on gravel surfaces. We had planned on having friendly games with other teams from South Africa but all those plans were put on hold,” said Ndlangamandla.
For personal fitness and health, Ndlangamandla normally exercises by doing press-ups and makes good use of an ab wheel. He also practises his shooting skills by playing against the wall as he confirmed to be adhering to the social distancing rule, which guards against the spread of COVID-19.

“Before COVID-19 emerged, we would compete with the Manzini team every Saturday and that was good for networking and socialising. Our fitness level is not the same as before and even though gyms are open, some of us will miss out since we can’t afford the monthly subscriptions,” said Ndlangamandla.
He encouraged other wheelchair basketball players to be persistent in their home training and hoped for the safe return of all sports amid the COVID-19 era.

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