Even though top scientists always had an idea that a pandemic would hit the world at some point in the future, none predicted it would be in 2020.
The Covid-19 pandemic completely decimated the sporting calendar that is only just slowly limping back to normalcy.
Will spectators return to sports in 2021 after their eerie absence in that bizarre 2020 season?
The Bible tells us that no one knows the day and the time of Jesus’s second coming.
What I am certain is spectators will be back, and at full cry. Already some leagues in Europe, of course with the guidance of their authorities, have started allowing limited attendance to their matches.
Here in Kenya we have in fact observed capacity turn-out at village tournaments while our neighbours in Tanzania have been attending sporting events throughout the year, Covid-19 notwithstanding.
As far as action on the pitch is concerned Kenya is clearly headed for another bout of international football starvation.
The federation strangely declined to forward a Kenyan representation to the Caf Confederation Cup while the country’s participation in the Caf Champions League is about to come to a humiliating end in the first round.
Kenya’s Gor Mahia were walloped 6-0 by Algeria’s CR Belouizdad in Algiers in their first round, first leg match on Boxing Day. The chances of the record national champions overturning this loss in Nairobi next Wednesday are as high as finding an incorruptible Kenyan politician.
Harambee Stars are on the threshold of confirming their status as one of the teams that will not participate in the Africa Cup of Nations finals.
Just how Kenya can fail to secure a top two position in a tame pool that also contains Egypt, Togo and Comoros, is a mystery I leave to opinionated football bloggers to blow and bluster about.
But there will be plenty of action off the pitch courtesy of the bungling Football Kenya Federation. For starters, the intransigent federation has a Fifa deadline of February 9 to pay former Harambee Stars coach Adel Amrouche Sh113 or risk Kenya being kicked out of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.
The federation is also embroiled in a spurt with some Premier League clubs over a controversial league broadcast deal with StarTimes TV.
Already the federation has ignored a Sports Dispute Tribunal directive to reinstate Mathare United and Zoo to the top tier league after it ejected the two clubs for failing to officially endorse the deal.
Clubs want to fight for their place in the league on the playing field but will seek recourse elsewhere if their rights are trampled in such a brazen way.
In other words, the Kenyan Premiership season promises to be another must-watch series with football standards the poorer for it.
I hope rugby, boxing, martial arts and all other sports categorized as high risk will return in the country next year. If these sports got the go-ahead to resume in other parts of the world, there is no plausible reason why the Kenyan authorities cannot restart them here. The players have waited long enough.
Every Kenyan will surely be eagerly waiting to see the return of the WRC Safari Rally in June after a 19-year hiatus. This should have happened last year but blame the postponement on the virus.
Same case with the World Under-20 Athletics Championships that was to have been hosted by Nairobi in March only to be pushed back to August next year.
But the two biggest rescheduled international competitions are the quadrennial Olympic Games and European football championships.
The Tokyo Games next year will still be called the 2020 Olympics. With Covid-19 lingering it will be interesting to see how organisers manage the 11,000 athletes from 206 countries, 5,000 officials and coaches, 20,000 media representatives and 60,000 volunteers in Tokyo. It will be like no other.
I will be anxiously waiting to see if the great Eliud Kipchoge will retain his Olympic marathon title, a feat only achieved by two runners thus far — Ethiopia’s Abebe Bikila (1960, 1964) and East Germany’s Waldemar Cierpinski (1976, 1980).
Next year’s European championships will also still be called Euro 2020, and will be staged under a new 12-city, 12-country format. I do not like this format at all! But that is a story for another day.
Kenya-born Briton Chris Froome returned to the peloton last year after recovering from a horrific cycling accident a year earlier. He has publicly stated his desire to win a record equaling fifth Tour de France title. Will it be this year as age catches up with him?
And after almost two decades at Barcelona will Messi, 33, considered one of the greatest football players, and who calls the club “my life”, leave for new pastures? It would mark the beginning of a new era for the Catalan club.
Finally, and on a personal level, I intend to tackle several low level intensity 100km cycling sessions. Will I?
Only 2021 will tell.