Dread and uncertainty


Dread and uncertainty

'There is fear'

Deputy Sport Editor

Friday, March 27, 2020

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Jamaica goalkeeper Dwayne Miller says it's hard not to feel fear as the deadly novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) upends life in Europe.

The Reggae Boyz veteran, who is currently in Sweden with his First Division club Syrianska SK, told the Jamaica Observer recently that it's not easy to stay focused in a country where there are 2,554 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 64 deaths, the 12th highest figure in Europe.

“There is going to be some fear as this is a virus because you don't know what it can do if you contract it… it is unsettling in the form that you are unable to associate with your friends normally, so it does affect a lot,” said Miller.

Apart from the wholescale disruption of football on the continent, the Jamaican said his club's preseason was thrown in a tailspin.

“Naturally, it affects everything in a big way, as we were near finishing up preseason, and then this happen. And yes, it's a big setback. It is tough to stay focused on football when this is happening, so it's more about staying healthy now more than anything else, and then think about football after the crisis has passed,” Miller noted.

The St Thomas native says where he is located just outside of the Swedish capital of Stockholm, there is no ban on moving about, but there are warnings to limit it as much as possible.

“There is no restriction on movement where I am as we are not in total lockdown as we are able to move around, but we are being advised to do so only if it's necessary. And they have been telling us if you are with any of the symptoms you should stay home.

“When you look outside you can see a reduction of movement from the public, so I guess people are heeding the warnings. Also, those who can work from home are advised to do so,” Miller said.

The former Harbour View standout, who has been training from home since the shutdown of football in the country, noted that initially a two-week break has been imposed, but with the uncertainties, this could be extended.

“The league has taken a break, and at the last meeting that break was for two weeks, and then we will see what happens from there.

“There is a lot of uncertainty right now and the Government said that they will cover salaries for two months, and that was announced a few weeks ago, but I have not heard anything else on that since. But with the uncertainties, you have to be thinking wide as to what can happen.

“I heard that some clubs are planning on laying off players, so nothing is certain until this virus has passed or under some level of control,” Miller outlined.

He said, unlike other clubs in Scandinavia that had gone overseas for preseason in hard-hit Spain and Turkey, Syrianska did not travel for a camp.

“Fortunately, we didn't have any plans to go on preseason abroad this year, because normally we would go to Turkey, but this year we decided not to go away and that has turned out to be a good thing, so in that regard we were lucky.

“But we are all in this together and the club has been just encouraging us as we try to stay focused, though it is a difficult time, and they are always there to support us if there is anything they can do.

“But generally what we have been doing is sharing support and trying to stay level-headed and motivated just in case there is a turnaround,” Miller said.

The Jamaican custodian, who is the regular deputy to Boyz captain, Andre Blake, says while he would prefer to be in Jamaica in such a far-reaching crisis, he thinks there is no escape from the virus that has so far infected more than 490,000 people, killing more than 22,000 worldwide.

Jamaica has recorded 26 cases and one death so far.

“Naturally, there is nowhere like home, but on the other hand, it's a global pandemic, so it doesn't matter where you are. Social distancing is being encouraged, so even if you were home in Jamaica, you still would not be able to associate with your friends that much. But once your family is okay, that's all you can really ask for. For me, it doesn't matter as long as I am safe with my family and I hope it remains that way.

“I would say to my people in Jamaica to follow the advice of the Government and try and keep yourselves as isolated as you can. Also, they should practise self-hygiene, social distancing, and just look at it as you protecting others and not just yourself. But in everything, we have to put God first,” he reasoned.

And a message to his Boyz teammates stuck in Europe and other parts of the world, Miller urged them to “stay fit”.

“As I said before, it's not easy to stay fit and focused at this time, but just do your best by putting in the extra effort to stay fit, and just make sure you are keeping yourself safe…just stay positive and keep in mind that after this, we have important business ahead and that there is life after coronavirus,” he ended.

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