Government willing to commence 2020 season, calls for patience
Youth, Sports and Culture Minister Francis Phiso has assured the football fraternity that stakeholders are willing to kick off the 2020 season at the appropriate time.
Speaking Tuesday after meeting a high-level Football Association of Malawi (Fam) and Malawi National Council of Sports delegation on Monday, Phiso said the government is aware that football lovers are anxious to see the return of the game but asked them to be patient.
Phiso said the meeting agreed to set up a committee to come up with direction on the commencement of the game after a series of consultations with relevant stakeholders.
“No date has been set on the kick off of the new season. We have started the process and fans should be assured that we are all willing to get the season underway. However, we cannot just get started without considering the safety of all stakeholders. So we are doing something to ensure that we take the right steps on the matter,” Phiso said.
According to statement that Fam released Tuesday, the association’s high-level delegation, led by president Walter Nyamilandu Manda made a presentation to Phiso on a proposed plan for commencing football action in the safest way possible in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture and Malawi National Council of Sports were satisfied with the plan of action and the strides that have been made so far by Fam to mitigate the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic.
“As a way forward, a working meeting has been organised this weekend with the ministry and medical experts to examine the Covid-19 safety measures that have been put in place. Further steps will be announced before the end of this month once consultations have been finalised with all key stakeholders which will include sponsors, football clubs and supporters,” reads part of the statement.
Recently, fans have been pressurising the government and Fam to lift the ban on sports which was imposed to control the spread of coronavirus.
Fam proposed to the ministry that the new season should kick off on August 8 and conclude in May next year.
The country’s football governing body is hoping to adopt Fifa’s calendar.
Football was suspended in the country on March 20 after President Peter Mutharika declared a State of National Disaster due to the global pandemic.
Civo Service United General Secretary, Ronald Chiwaula, said they were waiting for official communication on the matter.
“Our players continue to train at home and we are still following all preventive measures. But if the season is to kick off, they will need ample time for preparations so that they are ready. This will help them to avoid injuries,” Chiwaula said.
Football fans are hoping that Malawi will follow in the steps of fellow African countries such as Tanzania whose football resumed last week after Burundi led the way.
Other countries such as Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo and Botswana have called off their seasons whereas South Africa has given teams the green light to resume training with restrictions.
In Europe, England’s Premier League is set to resume tonight whereas Spanish La Liga restarted last weekend.