South Africa-based Malawi national football players will wait longer to return to action after South Africa Football Association (Safa) rescheduled fixtures from this weekend to August.
The Flames stars returned to training last month in preparation for resumption of the season this weekend after about three months of inactivity due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Teams were hoping to resume action this weekend in their bid to complete the 2019/20 Absa Premier Soccer League (PSL) and the Nedbank Cup.
Last month, the South African government gave Safa the go-ahead to resume football but with proper precautionary measures to avoid the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
This enabled clubs to recall their players for training.
Malawian players plying their trade in South Africa’s Premier Soccer League are Gabadinho Mhango (Orlando Pirates), Limbikani Mzava (Highlands Park), Gerald Phiri Jnr and Richard Mbulu (both Baroka FC), Denis Chembezi and Khuda Muyaba (both Polokwane City) and Robert Ng’ambi (Black Leopards).
Chawanangwa Kaonga of TS Sporting is the only Malawian playing in the second-tier Glad Africa Championship.
Through a press release issued on Tuesday, Safa announced that competitive action can only return on August 1-2.
The release stated that the National Soccer League Board of Governors held a meeting to consider, amongst other things, resumption of the 2019/2020 season.
“PSL had complied with the requirements and was ready to resume with the 2019/20 season on 18 July 2020, but are unable to do so due to unavailability of match officials. The Executive Committee has been mandated to re-engage stakeholders regarding the current status quo.”
PSL has since accepted the proposal to resume action in August. The acceptance was made during a board of governors meeting on Tuesday.
Flames Coach Meck Mwase said he was pleased that his charges will return to the pitch for games after resuming training.
“Of course it will be difficult for them to regain match fitness right away but what is most important is that they are back. They will have time to catch up and regain their form. All they need to do is to engage the extra gear.
“As a national team coach, I always want my players to play as many games as possible at club level. Naturally, I am delighted that my players will be back in action in the next two weeks. Of course they were set to return this weekend but resuming football in August is not that bad. I expect them work hard and help their clubs,” Mwase said.
Mhango is among the high profile players in the Rainbow Nation where he is the current top goal scorer with 14 goals.
The former Nyasa Big Bullets goal poacher’s fantastic form before suspension of the season is reported to have caught the attention of some unnamed clubs in Europe.
Mzava, Chembezi and Phiri Junior were also enjoying regular game time with their respective clubs before the season’s suspension.