The national football team of Malawi has been given the go ahead to participate in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers and the FIFA World Cup qualifiers by the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19.
This approval is in condition that the games be played under strict conditions which includes playing the matches behind closed doors to avoid the spread of Corona which has been managed much better recently.
Football authorities in the country have been under immense pressure from the fans to re-open stadiums as they were set to demonstrate to seek the return of matches after months of no action in the local scene.
The Malawi football season is yet to commence as they wait for a review of the Presidential Task Force next Thursday and there has been growing frustration among football clubs as they feel the Malawi government is imposing strict requirements before re-opening stadiums while travel and political parties adhere to less stringent rules during the process.
“There are double standards for example look at other parts of society that are opening and gathering in large numbers. People are sitting next to each other in buses, crowding in political rallies, but even social distance in open air stadiums is not being allowed, that’s unfair,” Kingsley Malaya, Silver Strikers supporter told News Central.Africa
Malaya said he is happy with the decision to partially lift the ban on football, but fans should be let into stadiums or else teams will face financial problems. Already teams have been affected heavily by the situation so it would only worsen as time goes should it continue like this.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) is trying out a complex scenario modelling to help follow the strict government protocols with things such as maintaining social distancing between supporters at stadiums, strict rules on sanitizing and using certain forms of transportation formulas to avoid people getting too close to one another. The Football Association of Malawi President, Walter Nyamilandu said the lifting of the ban on ‘The Flames of Malawi’ is “the first step to get started”, and he said the situation is being “reviewed periodically”.
Regardless of what eventually happens in the next few weeks fans will certainly be happy to have their national team back in action in the upcoming international break with players like Gabhadihno Mhango having renewed hope for the future of Malawian football.
By Prince Sobayeni