Is Malawi elite football returning with fans?

There are calls and loud calls from all corners of Malawi for football to return especially the TNM Super League. But the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) has often said it will not put pressure on government for resumption of football activities until it (government) through the Ministry of Health directs that it is safe for football to resume.

Bullets fans caught on camera on Biafra Stands.
Chimango Munthalu explaining a point in his presentations

FAM has been engaging different stakeholders in the game of football to get views on how best the game can be run amidst the COVID-19 pandemic should government give a go ahead.

A task force on COVID-19 was therefore set up at FAM with Chimango Munthali as Chairperson and Gomezgani Zakazaka as General Secretary. Through consultative meetings with different stakeholders, FAM is therefore working on a model that will be embraced by all stakeholders when football action returns soon or later.

While some people are of the view that the Coronavirus disease has come to stay, others are of the view that it will come to pass. Whether it has come to stay or not, football in Malawi must at some point restart. If football returns, are fans returning to the stadia or not?

This is one question that FAM was trying to address last Friday at its Headquarters in Sydney Chikafa Conference Hall at Mpira Village in Chiwembe, Blantyre. This was during an interface meeting the FA had with sports journalists to present a football restart road map and get input from the journalists on the same.

A number of issues were discussed at the meeting but the main objective of this write up is make football fans aware of two scenarios before them if football returns.

According to Gomezgani Zakazaka, supporters will face two scenarios. The first is that football might return with fans back in the stadia. But it will not be business as usual. Not everyone will access the stadia as capacities will be reduced by half to make sure there is social distancing among spectators in the stands. They will have to wear masks, wash hands upon entry and have body temperatures checked and with pre-sale of tickets.

The second scenario is that supporters may not be allowed back in the stadia. FAM will therefore make sure that games are on television and radio.

“We have put in place a mechanism where television specialists at FAM together with colleagues from SULOM are reaching out to television stations to see the expertise they have and how best they can assist us to reach out to football fans out there,” Zakazaka said.

Executive member of the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) who is also Chairperson for the COVID Task Force at FAM, Chimango Munthali, told Nyasa Times that the meeting with sports journalists on Friday was very significant.

“We can’t talk about football without the media. We know the role that the media play in reaching our targeted group. The discussions have been productive as the media gave in their input to the model that we are developing for a safe return of our football,” Munthali said.

Soccer analyst George Kaudza Masina said the idea of putting games on TV could have been explored long time ago as advocated by the majority of stakeholders.

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1 year ago

When did we have elite and football in the same sentence in Malawi?

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