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Sulom ponders over Covid-19

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Khumbize Kandodo Chaponda

Local teams and fans have suffered a setback after the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19 announced it has effected restrictions limiting public gatherings to 100 people.

The committee’s co-chairperson Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, who is also Minister of Health, said this follows the uplifting of an injunction which some musicians got at the High Court sitting in Lilongwe, restricting the government from effecting the safety protocols.

“The injunction which the musicians got has been lifted; so, we are implementing the restrictions. If we are talking of public gatherings, we mean every gathering, including sports and churches,” Chiponda said during yesterday’s press briefing at Bingu International Conference Centre.

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She cited Nyasa Big Bullets where nine players and two support staff tested positive for Covid-19.

“Last month, I made an appeal to the sports organisers that none of the spectators were wearing. Let’s suffer a little bit but let us contain the situation. If everything else goes back to normal, we will reopen because we are a listening government.

“We are aware of the economic impact on sports; it is huge when we put on these restrictions but we want them to be safe,” Chiponda said.

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Super League of Malawi President Tiya Somba-Banda said they would implement the restrictions as a law abiding institution.

“We will comply with the government regulations as it is in our own interest to overcome this pandemic. We will therefore sit and review the situation with the clubs to chart the way forward,” he said.

Silver Strikers Chief Executive Officer Thokozani Chimbali said they understood the situation.

“We do not have any problem with restricting fans to just 100 because we are aware of the figures. The cases keep on increasing. However, it is time to be creative and look for alternative revenue for the league to continue,” he said.

Mighty Be Forward Wanderers Supporters Chairperson Mervin Nkunika said it was painful to limit fans to 100.

“I think it is better to suspend the games. Most teams rely on gate revenue. In our [Wanderers] case we have lost sponsorship and we will depend on gate revenue,” he said.

Bullets Supporters General Secretary Mabvuto Chibambo said supporters needed to mobilise themselves to brainstorm on the way forward.

“I think limiting fans to 100 is not the solution. As supporters, we have to meet to share ideas on how best to handle the issue,” he said.

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