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Fam engages clubs on season commencement

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TIYA SOMBA-BANDA

Football Association of Malawi (Fam) is today expected to meet Southern Region-based TNM Super League clubs at Mpira Village in Blantyre over plans to commence the 2020 season.

Kick off of the new season was suspended in March after the government declared a state of national disaster due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Fam is working on commencement of the season after submitting documents to the Ministry of Sports during an interface last month.

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The government is yet to decide on the matter but recent surges in Covid-19 infections could delay Fam’s proposed August start of the season.

Today’s meeting will also involve Super League of Malawi (Sulom) officials who are expected to propose that football should return in empty stadiums and that clubs must camp their players throughout the season once the government gives the nod to football commencement.

Sulom President Tiya Somba Banda said the meeting is aimed at brainstorming on ways of dealing with the pandemic.

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“We will start with teams from the South and then the Central Region. We will wind up our meetings with Northern Region teams. We just want to hear and brainstorm on how best we can deal with the football situation in the country, in the wake of Covid-19,” Somba Banda said.

Be Forward Wanderers General Secretary, Victor Maunde, said he had been invited to the meeting but expressed ignorance on the agenda.

“I am totally in the dark about issues to be discussed at this meeting. All I know is that there is a meeting that has been called for by our superiors,” Maunde said.

Former Nyasa Big Bullets General Secretary Higger Mkandawire who is also a football analyst, says football can only return if proper precautionary measures are put in place.

“We have talked about this issue for quite a long time. Let us just put in place proper preventive measures and kick off the season. Our colleagues in Tanzania are back on the pitch. In South Africa, they have set restart dates just like in Zambia.

“Other African countries are also making progress in restarting their football. I would have loved to see authorities moving things here. All we need is mandatory testing of our players and officials before training and games,” he said.

On the possibility of playing games without supporters, Mkandawire said this could be possible only if Fam arranged to pay clubs the equivalent of what they earn from gate collections.

“Fam gets funds from Fifa and Caf [Confederation of African Football] and this can benefit clubs should a resolution be made on playing in empty stadiums. Covid-19 is real and is here to stay. We just have to find ways of living with it. That is why our colleagues in Europe restarted their football. Others have even concluded their leagues,” he said.

Fam is currently paying Super League players, technical panel members and referees K40,000 each every month to alleviate the challenges they are facing due to the pandemic.

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