Some football teams are panicking ahead of football return as players and technical members are yet to undergo Covid-19 mandatory test due to financial challenges.
The teams are supposed to resume group training from October 17 after Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 gave its consent. The 2020/21 season will kick-off on November 14 with a four team Charity Shield.
Most teams interviewed randomly indicated that they did not know the procedure to follow to undergo the tests. Some teams including Ntopwa FC have asked for free Covid-19 test.
Ntopwa owner Isaac ‘Jomo’ Osman said they were waiting for guidelines to undergo the test.
“But we feel it should be free where are we going to get the money to pay for the test,” he said.
So far Nyasa Big Bullets and Silver Strikers players underwent the test. Officials from the two teams who did not want to be mentioned confirmed having paid for the certification of results. Both officials did not say how much they paid for the services.
However, a single Covid-19 test cost $50 (about K38,000) but for players could cost less. It means a team can spend about K 1,140,000 for a 30-member squad.
Blantyre District Health Office acting medical officer, Dr Zaziwe Fatsani Gunda, said players were supposed to pay through their clubs.
“Yes they will pay because it [test] is meant for patients or people with symptoms so they [players] should bear the cost. The amount also depends on numbers. The amount goes to the working staff as they spend overtime working,” he said.
Football Association of Malawi (Fam) president Walter Nyamilandu said they had turned to Ministry of Health to arrange free test.
“Arrangement is underway with the Ministry of Health. On our own we cannot afford. But there has been good promise that the matter is being looked into,” he said.
Ministry of Health Principal Secretary Charles Mwansambo said they received a request from Ministry of Sports that Super League teams should be exempted from paying Covid-19 test fee.
“So we are looking into the matter we will get back to them soon,” he said.