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Sports return awaits task force nod

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The sports fraternity will continue waiting for the resumption of sports in the country after the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 disclosed that the committee is looking into the matter.

Sports fraternity is anxiously waiting for the announcement of the resumption of sports but CoChairperson of the task force Dr John Phuka could not give the exact date on when sports would resume.

“We acknowledge that the country is committed to international sports. The subcommittee is looking into the measures that will allow the country to participate in upcoming international sporting programmes,” Phuka told journalists in Lilongwe.

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Through the virtual meeting on Wednesday, National Disaster Preparedness and Relief Committee asked Ministry of Youth and Sports to rework on the Sports Road Map proposal after noticing some irregularities.

The Relief Committee, which comprises principal secretaries from all ministries noted that for safe sports return all protocols should be followed.

A well-placed source in government confided that among the sticky issues during the meeting included allowing of fans in matches despite the public restrictions to 100 people as in the newly gazzeted law.

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Government recently gave consent to school and airports re-opening but with strict guidelines. Football analyst Higger Mkandawire said the sports fraternity was losing patience.

“We have waited for so long and we are now tired. The most painful thing is that politicians are living a normal life but in the sports fraternity so many restrictions,” the former Nyasa Big Bullets general secretary said.

In the Sports Road Map, the ministry proposed that players would require 14 days quarantine but the committee felt it would not be practical in Malawi due to economic challenges.

George Kaudza Masina said it would be difficult to restart the game due to some restrictions.

“We cannot start football without fans because it will make teams poorer than now. Some conditions cannot work in Malawi,” he added.

Among the measures include testing of players and coaches, disinfecting sports venues and quarantine of athletes. All venues are required to have special rooms for isolation for those suspected to be Covid-19 positive. Athletes are also not allowed to use public transport once the games resume.

Minister of Youth and Sports Ulemu Msungama hinted that sports could return this week after getting assurances from the relevant committees. Football was suspended in March this year due to Covid-19. But the Flames are facing race against time as they are expected to take part in the Cosafa Cup from October 2-17 in Durban, South Africa before Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers in November.

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