Local football teams should brace for tough financial times and on the pitch once the country’s sports suspension is lifted as Football Association of Malawi (Fam) has insisted on maintaining all five competitions despite the anticipated late kick off of the 2020 season.
The new season failed to kick off after President Peter Mutharika announced the suspension in a bid to control the spread of Covid-19.
Football stakeholders’ hopes of having the suspension lifted were dashed after Mutharika imposed a 21-day lockdown on Tuesday night.
The lockdown runs up to May 9 with the possibility of an extension.
Malawi’s football season normally starts in March and ends in December.
The lockdown means football activities can only return towards end May at the earliest.
The country’s four top football competitions are TNM Super League, Airtel Top 8, Fisd Challenge Cup and the Eco Bank Charity Shield.
The newly introduced FDH Bank Trophy is also expected to be competed for in the new season.
However, Fam Competitions and Media Director Gomezgani Zakazaka said they were determined to run all competitions in the new season despite the anticipated late commencement of the season.
“We will have to redo the calendar and work on a plan to accommodate each and every competition registered with Fam, including the EcoBank Charity Shield,” Zakazaka said.
He said plans were already in place to ensure that no competition earmarked for the new season is left out.
“It is all about planning. We need to see to it that all competitions on our calendar are played,” Zakazaka said.
Be Forward Wanderers General Secretary, Victor Maunde, commended Fam for committing to maintain all competitions on its calendar.
However, Maunde said the development would result into teams playing too many games within a short time.
“Fam’s decision is quite commendable. We are in the game for competitions. The only challenge would be the number of games each team will be expected to play. Issues of player burnout are likely to come up in this case. Of course we are all in a fix because of this pandemic.
“Nobody knows when things will normalise. We are already missing football. Every team wants to go back to the pitch. But we value life most and our hope is that Fam will revise the calendar to suit all stakeholders in line with Fifa regulations,” Maunde said.
Fam announced suspension of the season just hours to the kick off of the TNM Super League.
Indications that football could return any time soon are not there as the country continues registering new cases of the epidemic with two deaths registered.
Peter Fote is a Sports Journalist with huge experience in radio and Television reporting, production and presentation. He once worked with Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) and is currently working for Times Media Group.