The kick-off of 2020 TNM Super League season has been suspended indefinitely after President Peter Mutharika banned gatherings of more than 100 people due to Coronavirus pandemic.
Football Association of Malawi (Fam) president, Walter Nyamilandu, said the season will not start today as earlier announced because the country was in a state of disaster following Mutharika’s declaration.
“The First Citizen has spoken and all stakeholders must comply. The season will not start because it is not safe to do so,” he said.
Super League of Malawi (Sulom) president, Tiya Somba-Banda, promised to return our calls as he was reportedly in a meeting.
However, Malawi National Council of Sports Acting Executive Secretary, Henry Mereka, said following Mutharika’s declaration, then all sporting events should be cancelled.
“Covid-19 has hit the world bad; as such, we need to take precautions. Prevention is better than cure. Therefore, we will not allow any sporting activity to take place,” he said.
Mutharika in his address to the nation Friday said he has declared state of national disaster in Malawi as a control measure against Coronavirus as neighbouring countries such as Zambia and Tanzania have registered such cases.
“All schools, colleges including technical colleges both public and private universities should be closed by Monday. These restrictions apply to all gatherings including weddings, funerals, church, congregation, rallies, government meeting etc. Government has banned travels for foreign nationals from countries highly affected by Coronavirus disease,” Mutharika said in his address on State-controlled Malawi Broadcasting Corporation.
“Government has suspended hosting of international meetings and banned public servants from attending both regional and international meetings being hosted by affected countries. The ban has been extended to all people travelling on other government-related activities such as sports. My government is advising the general public to avoid non-essential travel to the affected countries.”
The league was expected to kick off today with the official opening match involving TNM Super League defending champions Nyasa Big Bullets and Blue Eagles at Kamuzu Stadium.
Capital City rivals Silver Strikers and Civo Service United were also expected to meet in a Lilongwe derby at Civo Stadium on Sunday whereas last year’s runners-up Be Forward Wanderers were scheduled to face Red Lions at Kamuzu Stadium.
Confederations of African Football (Caf ) already suspended Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers until further notice due to the same. Globally, all major football leagues have been suspended including the English Premier League, Spanish La Liga, Italian Serie A, Absa Premier Soccer League, Bundesliga and French Lique 1.