Coronavirus outbreak forces Temwa’s Chinese team to suspend training indefinitely
Malawi women’s national football team star striker, Temwa Chawinga, has said her Chinese club Wuhan and others have suspended training indefinitely due to the outbreak of the coronavirus in the Asian nation.
Temwa recently sealed a transfer from Sweden top-flight league side Kvarnsveden to Wuhan, which is named after the Chinese city regarded as the epicentre of the outbreak that has killed 170 people with 1,771 cases registered.
In an interview yesterday, the 21-year-old said she was, for now, safe despite the Chinese Football Association indefinitely suspending domestic football with immediate effect in response to the outbreak.
“I started training with my new club soon after joining them but it has since been suspended due to the outbreak,” Temwa said.
“I am just indoors. Sometimes I just do stretches inside the house. I cannot even go out for shopping. The club has made arrangements to ensure that I am comfortable. They bring me food. There is nothing we can do except waiting.”
Temwa said she was not sure as to when the Chinese League would kick off in view of the outbreak.
“Apart from all this, I feel home at my new club. They welcomed me so warmly. However, I did not participate in pre-season games with the team due to the situation,” she said.
Temwa was the second leading scorer last season in the Swedish league with 35 goals including four hat-tricks from 28 games, a record that caught Wuhan’s attention.
However, her elder sister Tabitha, who plays for champions Jiangsu Suning, Thursday said her city has not been affected by the virus.
“The outbreak is more concentrated in the area where Temwa is based. They have released names of people to be evacuated from that city [Wuhan] but Temwa’s is not there. I am not even sure as to when the season would get underway as the men’s league was supposed to kick off in March but we understand it has since been put on hold,” she said.
World Health Organisation is yet to declare the outbreak as a public health emergency but some Malawians, including students based in China, said they want to return home.
However, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Rejoice Shumba, on Wednesday said the Malawi Embassy in China had not informed them that some Malawians were desperate for evacuation.
Malawi Ambassador to China, Charles Namondwe, The Daily Times on Wednesday that it was premature for the students to press the panic button.