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Fam in tight spot over Cosafa participation

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Walter Nyamilandu

Football Association of Malawi (Fam) says it is not sure if the country will participate in all the Council for Southern Africa Football Association (Cosafa) tournaments this year.

This comes after Cosafa executive committee approved the competitions calendar for the tournament in a Zoom meeting held on Thursday.

The approval of Cosafa competitions has put Fam in a tight spot as football faces an uncertain future in the country following the suspension of sporting activities due to the Covid-19 pandemic on March 20.

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The government is yet to lift the ban to enable the 2020 football season to start.

Fam president Walter Nyamilandu said the country might not participate in all Cosafa competitions this year.

“It is a challenge for Malawi and we are bound to lose out on some of the competitions due to Covid-19 pandemic. The harsh reality is that we will miss out on some competitions if the season does not start this year,” he said.

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However, Nyamilandu could not mention which tournaments the country would participate in this year. Malawi pulled out from hosting this year’s Under-17 Cosafa Cup due to the pandemic.

In a statement on Thursday, Cosafa said South Africa Football Association (Safa) indicated that it would host the Cosafa Senior men’s championship in Durban but dates would be communicated later.

Safa also confirmed its interest in hosting the Senior Women’s championship and the Under-17 girls tourney in Port Elizabeth in October.

Cosafa Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Suzgo Nyirenda, said they were monitoring the situation on the ground.

“As Cosafa continues to monitor the Covid-19 situation in its member associations, the executive committee has approved the competitions calendar. Cosafa is still in contact with all its 14 member associations on when football would return,” he said.

According to Nyirenda, Mauritius Football Association has registered its interest to host both the Under-17 boys’ zonal qualifiers in November and the Under-20 boys zonal championship in December this year.

Flames Coach Meck Mwase said he was waiting for official communication on the matter.

“It is a big relief for us after staying idle for a long time. We have hope that we might play in some competitions this year, which is good,” Mwase said.

The Flames exited the 2019 men’s competition in the quarterfinals after a 4-2 post-match penalties loss to Zambia.

But the team displayed an improved performance during last year’s tournament after beating Seychelles (3-0) and Namibia 2-1 before a 1-1 draw against Mozambique in the group stages.

Malawi was relegated to the Cosafa Plate where they lost 5-4 on post-match penalties to eventual winners South Africa. In women’s football, Malawi has struggled to go past the group stages for two consecutive years.

Zambia are current holders of the men’s title whereas South Africa’s Banyana Banyana have won the women’s cup for three consecutive years.

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