Some members of the football fraternity are growing impatient over delays by the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 to sanction sports return in the country.
Super League of Malawi (Sulom) Vice Secretary Zacharia Nyirenda, speaking in his personal capacity, called for the return of football citing political rallies and market place, as gatherings similar to sports’.
“We have been denied football for the past six months. Most players and officials who rely on club revenue have been kicked out of the houses by their landlords and others have relocated to their parent’s homes seeking refuge following failure to pay rents.
“I am aware government is doing all it can to protect lives of Malawians but by doing that let us be mindful of the lives that are starving for failing to make a living as a result of not playing football. Apparently football is suspended when other activities including political gatherings continue to happen,” he said.
Nyasa Big Bullets Supporters Committee General Secretary Mavuto Chibambo asked the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 to quickly sanction sports return.“We are having reports of reduced new cases and deaths with high recoveries every day. I think time is ripe to call for football to return. It is not only players who benefit from the game through bonuses but small scale traders too,” he said.
Former Bullets General Secretary Higger Mkandawire said the football fraternity was becoming impatient following delays in sanctioning sports return.
“If the authorities were honest then sports could have returned long ago. Other activities are taking place normally but it is only sports being sidelined,” he said.
Meanwhile, some stakeholders including officials from Football Association of Malawi (Fam), Ministry of Youth and Sports, Malawi Defence Force and Malawi Police Service met in Lilongwe over the weekend to brainstorm about sports return.
Fam’s Covid-19 Task Force Chairperson Chimango Munthali confirmed the meeting saying they were hopeful football would return.
Malawi national football team coach Meck Mwase recently expressed his concern over the fitness of Flames players ahead of next month’s Cosafa Senior Men’s Cup slated for South Africa.
Following the pandemic, Fam is disbursing Covid-19 relief package to Super League players and officials with each player receiving K40,000 monthly.
Through the initiative Fam targets about 560 players and officials. The association is also distributing assorted relief packs to regional teams as part of cushioning teams due to Covid-19 pandemic.
Fam extended relief programme to regional league teams including women’s football teams after partnering Rab Processors in May this year.
The packs contain 19 kilogrammes of maize flour, two packets of sugar, table salt, 200 grams of soya pieces, two kilogrammes of beans and two bars of washing soap.
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.