JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – MAY 05: Matthew Booth during the U/20 World Cup squad announcement at Burger King, Maponya Mall on May 05, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images)

26 March 2020 – Former Bafana Bafana defender Matthew Booth knows the impact on society of going into a lockdown in South Africa, but says the measures are necessary if we are to bring a halt to the spread of the coronavirus.

South Africans will be confined to their homes for a 21-day period from Friday, with only limited visits to the shops, pharmacies or to seek medical care.

There is no doubt many will be inconvenienced, but Booth says drastic times call for drastic measures.

“It is unprecedented, we have not seen anything like this on a global scale since the Spanish flu outbreak [in 1918]. It is a complete eye-opener, and I think it exposes how vulnerable we are to new viruses. It is scary, but there are also lessons that we can learn from this,” Booth says.

“It is going to be a massive blow for our economy, but it [the lockdown] is an absolute necessity and a brave decision by State President Cyril Ramaphosa and the South African government.

“What has been pleasing as well is that the move has the backing of all political parties in the country, and that is what we needed, to send out a clear signal to the public to do the right thing.

The positive to all of this is that you get to spend a lot more time with your family. I have got a lot of chores to do at home!”

Booth retired six years ago after an illustrious career in the South African top-flight league and Russia, which also saw him play for Bafana and take his place in the squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

He still likes to keep fit and urges football fans to do as much at home as they can.

“I will miss my gym regimen, I’ll be doing a lot more skipping and shadow boxing at home with my boys. That will help to keep them and myself busy and fit.”

Booth says that the halt of global sport will also have a big economic impact all round, but the preservation of life is the most important thing. 

“Life is a lot more important, and saving lives is a lot more important. Sportspeople have a huge role to play in making people aware of what they need to do so that we can beat this pandemic.”

Watch Matthew Booth’s video message to all Southern African football fans!

Booth is adhering 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.

For further information please contact:

Sue Destombes / Sec Gen COSAFA
+27 82 9000 648

All other info:
Lynda Greeff/ Media Officer
+27 82 446 5120