South Africa-based Malawi national football team stars have finally returned to training after over three months of training from home.
Football and other sports activities were suspended in the Rainbow Nation because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
A fortnight ago, the South African government gave South Africa Football Association (Safa) the go-ahead to resume football but with strict precautionary measures aimed at halting the spread of coronavirus.
Malawi has players such as Gabadinho Mhango (Orlando Pirates), Limbikani Mzava (Highlands Park), Gerald Phiri Jnr (Baroka), Richard Mbulu (Baroka), Khuda Muyaba (Polokwane City), Robert Ng’ambi (Black Leopards) and Denis Chembezi (Polokwane) in South Africa’s Premier Soccer League (PSL).
The country also has Chawanangwa Kaonga plying his trade in the second tier Glad Africa Championship for TS Sporting.
Mhango is a hot contender for the Absa Premiership golden boot award accolade for the 2019/2020 season while Mzava is one of the top defenders in the PSL.
The former Nyasa Big Bullets hit man, who had netted 14 goals before the season’s suspension, said it was exciting to return to action.
“Actually, as I am talking you now, we are in camp. We regrouped last week Tuesday and we are just waiting for confirmation of the date for us to start playing games again. I am ready to accomplish my mission of winning the golden boot award and help my club win the remaining matches,” Mhango said.
Mzava said they were expected to return to training Wednesday.
“The club is currently finalising testing of all players to ensure that everyone is in good health. This is what delayed our return. Returning to training and catching up after all these months will not be that easy. Each player knows that they will have a mountain to climb,” he said.
Chembezi said they regrouped on Monday and all players are working hard to impress the coaching panel.
“As I speak to you now, I am on my way to training. We returned to the pitch on Monday and everything is in place,” he said yesterday.
Malawi national football team coach, Meck Mwase, said he was delighted to hear that his charges have returned to training.
Mwase said this will give a chance to his players to gain match fitness as they look forward to the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers.
“This is a welcome development although we do not know when we will play the Afcon qualifiers. We rely on these foreign-based players to strengthen our national team. So I am happy that they are back to training. My only plea is that they should continue working hard and maintain their discipline,” Mwase said.
The news is likely to motivate authorities in other African countries to consider allowing their footballers to go back to the pitch.
Most of the world’s top leagues, such as La Liga, English Premiership, Serie A and Bundesliga, returned to action with strict preventive measures that include playing in empty stadiums.