Patrick Ochan Credit: KAWOWO SPORTS

The highly billed match between the legends of Uganda Cranes and a select team of Africa stars that was slated for 22nd March 2020 has been postponed because of the CoronaVirus (COVID-19) scourge.

Some of the retired African stars who had already confirmed to travel down to Kampala include Samuel Eto’o Fils, El Hadji Diouf, Didier Drogba, Tresor Lomana LuaLua, Yaya Toure, Kolo Toure, Emmanuel Eboue, goalkeeper Kidiaba among others.

Samuel Eto’o Fils

The match was part of the planned activities to mark the fourth edition of the Uganda-France Friendship Week, scheduled from 21st to 28th March 2020.

All these planned activities scheduled at the different locations in and around Kampala, have been canceled and postponed to a later date, to be communicated in the due course.

His Excellency Jules Armand Aniambossou, the Ambassador of France to Uganda confirmed the sad development to the media during a press conference at the Embassy of France in Kampala on Monday, 16th March 2020.

According to the Ambassador, the decision to postpone the events was prompted by the current, fast-evolving Coronvirus pandemic that has affected many countries, including France which is now moaning many victims.

The Ambassador thanked Uganda’s Ministry of Health, especially the Minister Hon. Jane Ruth Aceng, for her availability and guidance.

The Minister of Health, whom the Ambassador had met several times to update her on the activities of the Friendship Week assigned an epidemiologist to undertake a risk assessment of all the events.

The assessment gave a go-ahead for all the events while recommending that the COVID-19 Guidelines for safe Massing Gatherings are strictly adhered to.

The Ambassador also thanked the sponsors and partners of the Uganda-France Friendship Week for their continued support and commitment to the Friendship Week.

Participants welcomed the decision to postpone the events, describing it was a wise safety measure taken in solidarity with the victims of the CoronaVirus pandemic.

Consultations are on-going to have the Uganda-France Friendship events rescheduled either in July 2020 to coincide with the Bastille Day or later, depending on the prevailing CoronaVirus situation then.

Other affected events included a rugby 7’s match at  Kyadondo rugby club, French band Kassav’s concert at Sheraton Kampala Hotel, food festival, fashion exhibition, defence celebration, and business interaction.

All these activities would involve the participation of a number of sports personalities, artists and journalists from France.

Balaam Barugahara

We regret to announce that the All African Stars match against the Uganda Cranes Legends which we had jointly organised with the French Embassy and was scheduled for 22 March 2020 at Namboole Stadium has been postponed in consideration of the public health and safety concerns arising from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic. Our sponsors; UTB,MTN, UBL, NEXT MEDIA GROUP, AND RADIO 4 UGANDA have taken the painful decision to postpone the match in recognition of the overriding need to protect all who would have been involved in this celebration. In the same vein, we wish to inform the public that the Johnnie Walker-sponsored live concert featuring the world’s best French live band Kassav and Vegedream which was due on 28 March 2020 at the Sheraton Kampala Hotel has also been postponed.
New dates for the match and live band performances will be communicated in due course. We regret all inconveniences this action may have caused.
Thank you once again to all our sponsors and partners, the French Embassy and His Excellency the French Ambassador to Uganda.

Balaam Barugahara, Promoter

Although the Ugandan Government has reaffirmed that as a country we have no cases of the Coronavirus, we are cognizant of the need to take the necessary precaution as the preservation of human wellbeing precedes all else.

In this case, this, unfortunately, has meant postponing the match, notwithstanding the considerable investment by the French Embassy, Balaam Marketing, Uganda Tourism Board and other partners.

David Isabirye is a senior staff writer for Kawowo Sports where he covers most of the major events.

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