Northern Mariana Islands Football Association players and officials are onboard with Asian Football Confederation’s #BreakTheChain initiative to raise awareness and promote solidarity in the fight against the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
NMIFA, led by its technical director and CNMI Men’s National Team coach Michiteru Mita, launched a video that discusses safety measures, including proper hygiene practices to prevent the spread of the virus. The video, with hashtags #MarianasStrong #StayHomeSaveLives #BreakTheChain #FlattenTheCurve #FootballCares, has been making its rounds in social media since last Friday. It features guidelines from Mita, national team players Taka Borja, Thaiphi Austria, Sunjoon Tenorio, Jireh Yobech, and Enrico del Rosario, and assistant coach Jersh Angeles.
Mita, in the opening part of the video, mentioned the five key points in the prevention of the virus’ spread: hands, elbows, face, distance, and feel.
“It always starts with washing your hands, frequently using soap or alcohol-based solution,” said Borja in one of the video clips.
Austria was up next and his suggestions include covering the mouth and nose using the elbow when sneezing or coughing and utilizing tissue papers and quickly and properly disposing them.
Tenorio, who is back on island after an eventful rookie season in the NCAA, appeared in the video wearing a mask and encouraged everyone to refrain from touching their face, mouth, eyes, and nose.
Though government and health officials strongly advised people to stay home, Yobech acknowledged that there will be times they need to go out. When doing so, Yobech reminded people to observe distance (6 feet apart) when having interaction.
For people not feeling well, Del Rosario encouraged them to stay home and follow instructions from health authorities.
In closing, Angeles rallies the community to work together in our fight against the spread of COVID-10.
The NMIFA video is one of the many promotional campaigns launched by members of the AFC, which started the initiative late last month. In less than two days, #BreakTheChain has gained momentum after drawing support from more than 50 Asian players and officials and has engaged with millions of fans across the globe the past week. Among the Asian stars backing the campaign by appearing in videos are FIFA Female Player of the Century Sun Wen of China, India’s all-time leading scorer Sunil Chhetri, Indonesia and Persija Jakarta legend Bambang Pamungkas, and Suwon Samsung Bluewings star Hong Chul of South Korea.
Meanwhile, NMIFA general secretary Ross Zapanta said that besides supporting the #BreakTheChain campaign, they are also encouraging their players and members to stay in shape.
“NMIFA will keep doing its best to help prevent the spread of the virus and at the same time provide everyone with ways how to maintain their physical fitness. There is more motivation if people can do something as a group even at the confines of their homes. With the internet and different social media platforms, we can still be connected so let us take advantage of the technology,” Zapanta said.
NMIFA, through its pool of coaches and other resource persons, have been sending players workout videos so they could still train. Players are even encouraged to post their own videos when training (via Facebook group I am Fit Global Challenge) so they could also inspire others and share ideas.
“We would like to thank coach Mita for continuously working and thinking of ways how to encourage soccer players as well as the community to be active and healthy during this challenging time,” Zapanta said.