The future of football return is under threat after 46 players and officials in the Central Region tested positive for Covid-19.
This follows preliminary findings which the we accessed Friday ahead of the release of actual results today.
Preliminary results show Mafco registered 11 cases whereas TN Stars are second with nine.
Capital City giants, Silver Strikers, Civil Service United and Blue Eagles have three cases each. Five stewards also tested positive while three Silver Stadium and four Civo Stadium officials have also been found positive.
Super League of Malawi (Sulom) Vice General Secretary, Zacharia Nyirenda, who also heads the league’s Covid-19 desk, confirmed the cases but said they were not alarmed with the results arguing that the situation was manageable.
“Yes I can confirm Central Region has been the most hit compared to Southern Region. We haven’t yet received results from the Northern Region.
“We advise the players and officials to be calm and continue isolating while following all Covid-19 preventive measures like washing hands frequently and wearing face masks,” he said.
Nyirenda remained positive that football will return soon as Sulom was working jointly with the government.
“We are still in talks and we had another meeting today [yesterday] and we believe football will still return. We are hoping to start by end of this month but we cannot give a specific date,” he said.
Football analyst George Chiusiwa said:
“While the resumption of football was under the Covid-19 context is welcome, there is need to be cautious since the pandemic is still with us. “Therefore, the reported overwhelming numbers of players and officials found to be positive of the coronavirus in the Central Region is a huge threat to the game’s restart,” he said.
Chiusiwa said this was not surprising as the sports sector has largely been neglected when it comes to conducting periodic Covid-19 tests to monitor athletes and those involved in various sporting activities.
“Essentially, the reported positive cases should be regarded as a good development as this checks the safety and health of many involved in the game as football restarts.
“This is a reality check of the state of readiness in terms of the safeguards against Covid-19 before the restart of the game,” he said.
Chiusiwa encouraged stakeholders Sulom and Football Association of Malawi (Fam) and clubs to implement periodic tests in the course of the football calendar when the sport resumes.
Peter Fote is a Sports Journalist with huge experience in radio and Television reporting, production and presentation. He once worked with Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) and is currently working for Times Media Group.