Yearning for home


Yearning for home

Jamaican coaches in TCI missing home as virus fears mount

Deputy Sport Editor

Thursday, April 02, 2020

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Football Coach Andrew Edwards says his heart and mind are with his fellow Jamaicans as the island nation fights to restrict the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

So far, Jamaica have confirmed 44 cases of the deadly virus and three deaths. However, global figures stand at an astonishing 924,886 cases and 46,375 deaths, with USA recording most cases of 209,105 and 4,658 deaths.

Edwards, who serves as technical director of football in neighbouring Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI), is trapped in the British Overseas Territory with two other Jamaican coaches.

Former Tivoli Gardens coach Omar Edwards and Portmore United's Shavar Thomas are also in the TCI plying their trade.

“I am very concerned with what's happening in Jamaica, and personally, I worry for my wife and children… she has to go to work pretty much every day, homeschool our kids, take care of her parents, her aunt and my grandmother, all over age 80. I truly wish I could be there to take some of the burden off her.

“Without a doubt the other coaches feel the same, even if their situation is different,” Edwards told the Jamaica Observer.

He said coping with the realities related to COVID-19 pandemic is made more difficult by not being able to be home in Jamaica to weather the proverbial storm with his family.

“It's very difficult, especially considering we would love to be able to spend this time with our families. I am a homer and a family man, so of course it hurts I am not home with my wife and kids.

“For me, personally, it's even more challenging since I live alone here in the TCI. The other guys live together,” Edwards noted.

The former Jamaica Under-17 coach has urged Jamaicans individually to play their part in efforts to contain the spread of the killer virus.

“I would say to them to stay home, follow the instructions of the Ministry of Health, and by extension the Government. While you are at home seek to grow spiritually, physically [exercise], emotionally, socially, especially with loved ones and restore any broken situation.

“Also, do what you can to prepare for life after COVID-19, because it will pass, and when it does, opportunities will abound for the prepared,” Edwards advised.

In the TCI, the Jamaican says, like everywhere in the world, the pandemic has impacted football, but saluted the “proactive” response from the game's authorities.

“The TCIFA [Turks and Caicos Islands Football Association] was very proactive in suspending all programmes since March 10 in keeping with global and local developments and instructions.

“The TCIFA was very proactive suspending all programmes even before we had a positive case. Before that, our proactive approach included education through all our media platforms, provision of additional sanitising material at the TCIFA National Academy.

“Coaches were also instructed to exclude from their sessions any player who was showing signs of flu or cold, parents were advised to keep any child with such symptoms at home,” Edwards explained.

He also thought the Government's response to the threat was deserving of commendation.

“The Government has been quite forward-looking in their approach following pretty much the same steps as in Jamaica. Persons who have travelled from at-risk countries were, or are quarantined; flights have been suspended, borders have been closed. Effective March 28 there has been a countrywide shut down until April 14 initially,” noted Edwards.

“We all appreciate the steps being taken by the Government and the football fraternity and pray that we all will get through this in good stead,” he concluded.

The TCI has, so far, reported six cases of COVID-19 and no deaths.

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