Reigning FIBA Women’s AfroBasket 2019 MVP Ezinne Kalu has joined the growing voices around the world calling for caution as the world battles the coronavirus pandemic.
Kalu, who inspired Nigeria to their second straight continental title and fourth in total as well as guide D’Tigress to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, is using her platform and influence to spread the key message of staying home.
Seeing as the coronavirus pandemic has paralyzed basketball worldwide, Kalu shared that she has adopted several workouts to keep fit.
“I keep fit by working out in the morning and evening on my Instagram live and go running everyday as well,” she stated.
Calling out on fellow sportsmen around the world, Kalu said, “Please everyone stay healthy, stay safe and please stay inside. This is our new normal. It is important for us to follow the rules and protect each other from any unnecessary harm.”
On how she and her teammates at club and national team levels have kept hope alive, the point guard who stands at 1.7m (5ft8in) added, “Of course, we have a group chat where we all stay connected and check on each other as much as we can. I think it is important to keep the communication consistent so that we keep that chemistry.”
“This COVID-19 has really affected basketball tremendously. Not just for Team Nigeria but for the whole world. It is devastating for the seniors of high schools and colleges. What will they do? The athletes who know nothing else but their sport what will do they? It is just really unfortunate that the excitement around sports has completely stopped.”
She noted that social distancing and staying at home has had no effect on her. “Of course I miss being outside, hanging out with friends but I am also a home-buddy which means I do not mind staying inside and working on my other crafts. I do not mind relaxing in the house and finding other things to do.”
Despite the downside of the lockdown world over, there is also a silver lining : “Because of this coronavirus, I have had time to work on my own cosmetics brand which is a make-up company that I created back in 2017. I have also been getting into forex trading. Learning how to make money from different avenues. I have been working on two of my books that I hope will be done by next year.”
“I have also been working on putting together a non-profit organization to start giving back to my communities and creating opportunities for young girls behind me. All these ventures are very exciting and although this COVID-19 is unfortunate, it still gives me an opportunity to slow down and really continue building my life and legacy outside of basketball.”
She admits, “I miss basketball every day. I even started a Dear Basketball journal.”
On the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games to 2021 and how much it will affect the Nigeria women’s national team, Kalu said she does not believe it would impact negatively on the team.
“I do not think it will affect Team Nigeria. I think this gives us extra time and preparation to make any corrections and adjustments to our team. This is good for us.”
She, however, advises that the best way to go about these tough times remain staying in shape and staying healthy with consistent communication and support.
“When we do all these things we will be okay,” said Kalu.