Despite government declaration to halt all public gatherings including sporting activities in a quest to prevent coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, Livingstonia area in Rumphi is having weekly football action.
Football matches are taking place with hundreds of spectators in a bonanza which is said to be sponsored by Minister of Health, Jappie Mhango.
The winning team on Saturday gets K50000 just like the winning team on Sunday and the bonanza has been on for two weeks now.
Rumphi District Football Committee says they were not told and involved in the initiative by the minister who is also President of the Malawi Olympic Committee (MOC).
The Northern Region Football Association (NRFA) was also not consulted and General Secretary for NRFA, Masiya Nyasulu, says it is sad that such a thing is happening.
“It’s very unfortunate that some people are failing to attach the importance needed to halt all sporting activities amid the COVID-19 pandemic. As an association, we suspended all our activities in the region but we hear there is a bonanza at Livingstonia in Rumphi.
“We will investigate and encourage Rumphi District Committee to approach the people involved so that they can stop this,” lamented Nyasulu.
Reacting to the matter, minister Mhango has said he does not know anything about this bonanza.
“I am not involved in anything like that. As a member of parliament for that area, I am not involved in anything like that.
“I, as a minister, cannot do such a thing. If that kind of thing is happening, then it’s happening without my knowledge,” Mhango charged.
In Chitipa, football activities also continue in defiance to government’s ban of large gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chitipa District Sports Officer, Rowland Harawa bemoaned lack of adherence to sporting activities’ ban, saying it undermines government’s efforts to contain the spread of the deadly Coronavirus.
He said his office has since written letters to all sports committees at district level to inform them any sporting activity that attracts large gathering is not allowed.
“I urge people to adhere to what the government is saying as it is good for their health. The
sporting community can play its role by not engaging in sporting activities in accordance with the preventive measures,” said Harawa.
Chitipa Police Station spokesperson, Gladwell Simwaka said police are enforcing government laid-down measures to prevent spread of the said virus. —Additional reporting by Joseph Mbughi, ManaFollow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :