Hopes that the country’s top four teams could lift the first silverware in the new season have been dashed after Football Association of Malawi (Fam) confirmed cancellation of the Charity Shield.
Giants Nyasa Big Bullets, Blue Eagles, Silver Strikers and Be Forward Wanderers were scheduled to meet this weekend at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre in the competition which was lined up to mark the beginning of the 2020/21 season.
On Monday, the four teams revealed that they had been notified about the cancellation through a Super League of Malawi WhatsApp forum.
Fam Competitions and Communications Director Gomezgani Zakazaka, who early this week was reluctant to comment on the matter, said the season opener would no longer take place as Fam and Super League of Malawi (Sulom) had planned to stage test matches across the country.
Zakazaka said, as part of the Football Restart project, Fam had initially arranged to use the Shield as the main test event to assess stakeholders’ preparedness for kickoff of the new season which was halted in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Last week Fam and Sulom noted that conducting test matches just for four teams and at one venue would not give a clear picture of stakeholders’ preparedness to host matches across the country.
“It was therefore agreed that we shelve the Charity Shield and stage matches across the country involving 12 teams in five venues. This will ensure that we fulfill commitments we made to the government in our Football Restart plan that we will have top-level test matches across the country,” Zakazaka said.
Sulom has since intensified preparations for demonstration matches in all the three regions of the country this weekend.
Sulom Vice General Secretary, Zacharia Nyirenda, said they will sell tickets in advance as one way following Covid-19 protocols.