Former T&T international hockey standout, England-based Kwandwane Browne like many professional sportsmen worldwide have been trying their best to keep fit and focus as the world continues to grapple with the coronavirus (COVID-19) virus pandemic.
The 42-year-old Browne is a legend of the sport on two continents, Europe and Pan American and is well known as both a player and coach.
He currently coaches one of the top teams in England, Hampstead and Westminster, and is also part of the England and Great Britain men’s Olympic coaching staff having retired from the "Calypso Stickmen" in 2019 after the last Pan American Games, the 18th edition in Lima, Peru, having featured in more than 325 matches for the national, indoor and outdoor.
Before the suspension of the hockey season at the club level in England as well as with their national team, Browne was enjoying a relatively productive and busy season on both levels with the men beating Malaysia 5-2 and 4-1 last November to qualify for Tokyo after disappointing results in recent tournaments.
However, further to the British Government and Public Health England’s guidance around major sports events and international travel restrictions, regrettably FIH Hockey Pro League games against China, India, and Argentina as well a planned South Africa training tour was cancelled while remaining matches against USA and Spain May 23/24 and Germany on June 13/14 will be made no later than April 15.
Besides, Great Britain's away matches against the Netherlands on April 28 and 29 have been postponed.
He said that things have been at a standstill with regards to hockey and sport in general in Europe as the rest of the world.
He said, "In England, we stopped the season three weeks ago, and our Great Britain senior men's hockey team was supposed to go to South Africa on March 15 for some warm weather training in preparation for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
"But due to the COVID-19 virus, the training camp had to be cancelled while as we all know now the Tokyo Olympic Games which was to begin in late-July will now occur in 2021.
"So with those developments, the national programmes and England Hockey Leagues were all stopped at that time due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) worldwide pandemic.
Fortunately for Browne who has won the T&T Hockey Board "Player of the Year” award nine times along with six Pan American Elite Team membership, the England Hockey League Premier Division was able to finish the Premier League regular-season schedule of 18 matches.
He added, "My club Hampstead & Westminster, ended in the second spot with 41 points, six behind Surbiton to qualify for the semifinals before the tournament was suspended.
Browne said that while the Premier Division has reached the semifinal stage, the same cannot be said for some of the conference leagues who are yet to complete their regular seasons.
Browne who has several other tasks as a coach with St Lawrence College and Hampstead and Westminster said the clubs are still awaiting the final decision on what will happen with the rest of the season.
"We are not sure whether it will continue once the pandemic is brought under control or if it will be cancelled because, on completion of the league format, the playoffs were expected to follow.
"But all competitions have been suspended and there are a few things still to be decided in terms of promotion and relegation playoffs, and they haven't made a decision on that as yet."
"The promotion and relegation of teams in England are not that straight forward, especially because the teams in the north has one more round of matches left to play to complete the regular season with the top two clubs Durham and Bowdon, in a virtual top-of-the-table-clash to determine the regular-season winners.
He said, "Also, the league also needs to determine the top two teams to represent England in the European Hockey League (EHL). For me, it's still relatively quite busy. I'm doing a lot of meetings online, and doing a lot more at home and cleaning up my hard-drives which are filled with hockey stuff as you could imagine while club-wise I am also trying to stay in touch with the players as much as I can. Due to the lockdown, we can't do much hockey work, and it's a time for me to make sure that everyone and their families are safe with regards to the coronavirus pandemic."
He added, "Generally at home, it's me and my two boys and my mom who came over from the USA to help me look after them when I am away with Great Britain hockey teams, so it's just four of us and we are pretty lucky in that there are lots of private fields close to where we live so we can get a chance to go outside at times, do some running if we want too, while the boys also have quite a bit of entertainment at home as well as school work which has them busy.
"The days are going by quickly as well and for me, it provides a great opportunity to do some work with friends and family, as we are still not sure when the season is going to start back.
Browne, a London Metropolitan University (LMU) graduate also noted that another former T&T stand-out Dillet Gilkes who coaches Conference East club St Albans is also in good spirits and doing a good job on the coaching season at the club which features T&T internationals, Marcano brothers, Tariq and Teague.
"Teague is the joint top scorer in the Conference East with 18 goals and his team their club is just outside the playoff picture with one match left to play," ended Browne.