Malawi national football team Coach Meck Mwase faces a race against time as he only has two months to prepare his team for November’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Burkina Faso.
Mwase finds himself in a tricky situation with the country’s football season yet to kick off after it was halted on March 20 following the government’s declaration of a state of emergency to control the spread of coronavirus.
Malawi have two back-to-back home-and-away ties against Burkina Faso between November 3 and 10.
The coach has since asked Football Association of Malawi (Fam) for an early camp as he needs more time to assess his players.
Mwase’s concerns stem from the fact that most of his local players have been inactive for over five months due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Commencement of the season hinges on the government lifting the sports suspension.
Ministry of Youth and Sports has since submitted its plan on football return to the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19.
Mwase said he has written Fam, asking for an early camp training session.
“Time is not on our side. We would have loved to go into camp as soon as possible. I have written Fam on the matter because most of our local players and those playing in Mozambique are rusty having gone over five months without playing football. We are in a tight corner. We cannot go into the qualifiers without training adequately. There must a solution to this problem,” he said.
Fam Competitions and Communication Director, Gomezgani Zakazaka, confirmed receiving Mwase’s request.
“The coach has indeed written us and relevant authorities are looking into the matter. This is a situation we have and we cannot run away from it. It is between football and policy makers outside the game. So there is little we can do about it as of now.
“We all want to see the return of football as soon as possible, but this matter is being handled elsewhere. We are only hoping and waiting for an answer within the right time. We are not health experts, so we can only wait. At the same time, we understand the coach’s concerns and we are doing something to save the situation,” Zakazaka said.
Malawi are third in Group K of the qualifiers which has leaders Uganda, Burkina Faso and bottom-placed South Sudan.
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.