The lockdown that came about with the coronavirus pandemic was a huge blow to organised sport and sports lovers. Gone are the days of sharing your team’s successes and losses with friends and strangers shoulder to shoulder in our great sport stadiums. Now, a year later, the SABC reflects on the impact of the no-spectator regulations.
Stadiums and arenas that once reverberated with the din of thousands of fans, now stand empty. Only the shouts and calls of players echo off the rows and rows of seats.
The games are being played, but it is not quite the same as fans miss the weekends of fun and excitement.
Fans say this has been a frustrating experience. “It’s very frustrating not having something that makes you excited for weekends. Because you excited man for the game and you already panning what you guys are going to do for the day,” one fan says.
“As supporters, being in the stadium we are the 12th man that supports the boys. Every time they trying to get points and they lose focus, they hear us on the stand singing for them and it comes as encouragement. So being away it doesn’t make them feel the spirit,” says another fan.
“It has affected us badly. We used to go to the stadium to watch our team. We are usually called by the team to announce and meet the new players arriving in the team. But now the fact that there’s a lockdown we cannot be able to have access to our team,” another fan says.
The players also feel the lack of crowd support.
Players missing the support
EPRU rugby player Robin Stevens playing without the presence of fans has been difficult as players thrive off the support.
“Obviously as a player, we thrive off the support of the people that come to watch the games; so from that perspective, it’s been difficult. You’ve got to find other ways to motivate yourself to keep pushing even though it gets difficult. So yes, but if spectators do come back, hopefully soon, it will be a big plus for us as players.”
There is also no silver lining on the clouds yet, nobody has any idea of when the fans will return to the stadiums.
Reflecting on the impact of the no-spectator regulations: