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Former Bengaluru FC & East Bengal midfielder Toni Dovale a pharmacist during Covid-19 pandemic!

The Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic is spreading fast around the world, but there are some feel good stories about people trying to do their best to help people.

One of these is Spanish midfielder Toni Dovale, a former player of Bengaluru FC and East Bengal Club in India.

29 year old A Coruña-born Antonio Rodríguez Dovale returned to his home town after a stint with Thai Division 2 side Navy FC and the pharmacy graduate was in Spain when the Covid-19 pandemic spread.

So he decided to pitch in his ‘grain of sand’ against the virus using the studies which he had yet to put into practice due to his passion for football.

Speaking to AFP, Toni Dovale said, “I really was packing my bags to go back when things got complicated.”

Travel restrictions trapped Dovale in his native La Coruna in the Atlantic coast region of Galicia, where he started his football career with nearby Celta Vigo. Although Dovale also completed his university studies in pharmacy four years ago, he had never actually worked in the field. Now with the world of sport in limbo the footballer realised the time was ripe to use his studies to help his homeland.

“I was playing in Asia then; pharmacy is different there and I was never in Spain long enough to work. With football stopped and travel banned I said to myself ‘get some practical experience and do your bit’.”

“We’re in a really frightening situation. Those of us working with the public are afraid, and the people who come to us for advice are afraid too,” says Dovale, who is working in a pharmacy run by his family.

He has gloves but no mask, and does not appear ready to lose his smile any time soon.

“We all know we are exposed, that this is a pandemic and a complicated situation,” he says.

“But we all know too that our behaviour in complicated situations defines who we are, and for me I need to put fears for my own safety to one side and help in any way that I can.”

“There are shortages of many things and we are struggling to get enough of the simple things like thermometers, paracetamol, gloves and hand gels.”

And speaking on training, Dovale said, “Right now I’m the same as everyone else in that I train at home jumping over the furniture.”

“I start at 7am and I use whatever I can including bottles of water and stuff like that. Then I go downstairs to the pharmacy.

“I hope this is over as soon as possible and that I can go back to playing football again. Right now though everything is up in the air and I have no idea when sports will get going again over there (in Asia) or when we Europeans will be allowed to even travel again.”

“I have no idea how this is going to pan out. Let’s just hope it’s all over soon and I can get ack to my normal life playing football.”

About Arunava Chaudhuri

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