By Moagi Madisa
English-based midfielder Renei Batlokwa of Canvey Island FC has joined his Botswana national teammates Mogakolodi Ngele and Mpho Kgaswane to relay his heartfelt message of courage to Batswana against the coronavirus pandemic.
When speaking to COSAFA.com, Batlokwa said the pandemic has affected the world and it will important for every individual to play their part to combat the coronavirus.
“It is very important to play your part by following governments guidelines like washing your hands, using sanitizers regularly and staying home,” he said. “I also urge you to use contact details of the health organisations near you if you feel unwell or developing symptoms of the virus. This will get you the help that you need as quickly as possible.”
He further urged the nation to pray for those who are already diagnosed with the virus for their speedy recovery.
Batlokwa, 22, made his Zebras debut in October 2019 in an international friendly against The Pharaohs of Egypt in Cairo at Borg El-Arab stadium. The Zebras coach, Adel Amrouche, described Batlokwa as a player for the future.
Although ‘Renei’ has had a rollercoaster career in England, he has been exposed to international scouts to further his career.
He joined Southend United from Thurrock FC at the age of 14 and later had a loan spell at Lowestoft Town.
He was released by Southend at the end of the 2018/19 season, moving to Brentwood Town last November and then Canvey Island in March.
Batlokwa is among a few Batswana players who have plied their trade in European leagues. He joins the likes of Joel Mogorosi, Dirang Moloi (Cyprus), Dipsy Selolwane (USA and Denmark) and Mogogi Gabonamong (Trinidad and Tobago).
By May 1, Botswana has already tested over 7,000 people for the coronavirus with only 23 positive cases, one fatality and eight recoveries.
The health practitioners in the landlocked country have opted to do contact tracing tests over indiscriminate testing that initially targeted 20,000 people. Should there be no mass positive cases of the coronavirus, Botswana could lift all lockdown conditions in around three weeks.
The initial lockdown lasted for 28 days ended on April 30. It was extended by further three weeks, but will be monitored weekly to ease some industries to return to work.
Fans should adhere to the guidelines laid out by the World Health Organisation in the bid to combat the coronavirus outbreak, which include:
Wash your hands frequently: Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
Maintain social distancing: Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth: Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
Practice respiratory hygiene: Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately
If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early: Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.