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Fam hopes for football return

School opening gives hope

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Walter Nyamilandu

The possible opening of schools early next month has raised hope among the football fraternity that the season could also start.

The football season is almost lost but President Lazarus Chakwera’s announcement on Saturday that schools that will meet set Covid-19 requirements will open next month, has renewed hope in the football fraternity.

Government has not given consent on football restart.

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Football Association of Malawi (Fam) president Walter Nyamilandu said there is renewed hope with the opening of schools.

“Lots of hope that our plight will be considered based on the health and sanitary protocols we submitted for football to restart in a safe manner. The limit of 100 people virtually means that it is not possible to play football with the fans but rather behind closed doors in an empty stadium,” he said.

“It also remains to be seen whether it is feasible to play football in an empty stadium. The feedback from our consultations suggest that the fans are resisting playing football behind closed doors.”

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Nyamilandu said if they do not get consent from government, the 2020 season will be considered lost and they will focus on restarting football next year.

Fam and Super League of Malawi (Sulom) are also exploring the viability of broadcasting matches on Television and Radio.

The national football governing body submitted a roadmap on football restart to government but it is yet to be considered. The roadmap guides the safe return of the game now or in the future once the situation improves.

Captains of all 16 TNM Super League teams are also planning to meet Minister of Youth and Sports and Nyamilandu to lobby for the restart of the game.

Be Forward Wanderers General Secretary, Victor Maunde said the football fraternity was anxiously waiting for the resumption of the game.

“For a start, we can start with the elite football only and we observe. I believe we are a small group which can be managed comparing with other groups,” he said.

Most Super League are struggling to pay players and technical staff as they rely on gate collections. Some teams have gone more than five months without paying monthly upkeeps whereas other teams have cut players’ salary by 50 percent.

Civo Service United General Secretary, Ronald Chiwaula also said there is hope that football might restart.

“It is a positive development that schools will open soon and we believe that sports will be considered next,” he said.

Football was suspended in March this year due to Covid-19 pandemic. In other countries, the game has resumed behind closed doors.

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