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Dilemma over regional leagues

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Gomezgani Zakazaka

The uncertainty surrounding the 2020/21 edition of regional leagues could plunge the football fraternity into trouble as stakeholders will struggle to determine those in relegation and promotion slots.

The three regional leagues Northern Region Football Association, Central Region Football Association and Southern Region Football Association—are yet to commence the 2020/21 season having been suspended due to the Covid-19 ban in March last year.

Regional champions earn promotion to the TNM Super League, with the bottom three sides being relegated to the second-tier.

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If the regional leagues do not take place this season, then stakeholders will have to decide on how best to handle the relegation and promotion slots.

Super League of Malawi President Tiya Somba Banda said the issue had been referred to Football Association of Malawi (Fam) to make the final decision.

“It is a tricky situation because we still do not know whether these regional leagues will be played. But, in the event that we will not play, then it is obvious we might not relegate or promote any team,” he said.

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However, Fam Media and Communications Director Gomezgani Zakazaka said the issue would be discussed by all stakeholders.

“We will call the regional leagues and Fam Covid-19 Taskforce to review the whole thing. We need to rework the roadmap because the current one does not address some of the present issues,” he said.

Meanwhile, NRFA General Secretary Masiya Nyasulu has cast doubt over lower league resumption this season.

“The number of people contracting the virus is alarming. Then we also have another venue problem here in the North, which makes kickoff under guidelines tricky,” he said.

Fam, at its executive committee meeting on Saturday, resolved that the association’s Covid-19 Taskforce should engage member associations responsible for regional leagues, youth football, women’s football and beach soccer to review the Football Restart Plan for the respective Leagues.

“This follows Malawi Government’s decision to limit public gatherings to 100 people which has affected the earlier plans to restart all leagues by 11th January 2021,” the statement reads.

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