The return of the 2020/21 TNM Super League season received a major boost Tuesday when players started undergoing coronavirus tests ahead of possible resumption of the top flight league.
Some Central Region-based players and officials underwent test as Super League of Malawi (Sulom) embarked on the drive with support from Ministry of Health.
Sulom Vice General Secretary Zacharia Nyirenda said they expect to conclude the test by tomorrow before the league’s fixture subcommittee determines the date to resume the league.
“We have started in Lilongwe; we have done four teams today and so far so good. We are expecting to have all the results by Saturday, then our fixtures subcommittee will determine when to start the season,” he said.
As part of the process, players and officials from Kamuzu Barracks, Silver Strikers, Blue Eagles and Civil Service United were tested Tuesday at Civo Stadium whereas Mafco, TN Stars, stadia personnel, stewards and Central Region-based referees will be tested today.
Testing for players and officials in the Northern Region and Southern Region will commence today. The results for all the tests are expected by Saturday.
Fam’s Chairperson for Taskforce on Covid, Chimango Munthali, said they started the tests hoping that government will give them a go ahead to restart football in 14 days.
“The key thing is that we are taking precautionary measures as part of the process of restarting the game. We want to make sure that all the players and officials get tested. We expect football to restart in the next 14 days considering that there has been downward trends on Covid cases in recent days,” Munthali, who is also Fam executive committee member, said.
Meanwhile, Silver Strikers defender Mike Robert said he was longing for Super League return.
“Yes we went for the test. We can’t wait to return to the pitch,” he said.
Nyasa Big Bullets Supporters Director Stone Mwamadi welcomed the development, saying players and other stakeholders were anxious for football return.
“This is good news because our players are struggling. We could have loved it if they also allowed supporters to patronise these matches so that clubs can benefit from gate takings,” he said.
Sulom suspended the 2020/21 TNM Super League in January following the second wave of Covid.
Government is yet to make a decision on the resumption of matches despite receiving a Football Restart Proposal from Fam.
Co-chairperson of Presidential taskforce on Covid, Dr Wilfred Chalamira Nkhoma, while commending Sulom and Fam for testing the players, said the decision will be made based on status of Covid cases.
“As I said earlier, we will be guided by the current status of the pandemic. It is encouraging that Fam and Sulom have started testing of players but that will not be used as guidelines,” he said.
Silver lead the log table with 19 points from nine matches, at par with second and third placed Ekwendeni Hammers and Red Lions, respectively.