Some team medics and Super League players have hailed Football Association of Malawi (FAM) for its decision to bar Kamuzu stadium from hosting games this season, saying it is for the betterment of the players.
Among other reasons, FAM condemned the stadium due to the state of the artificial turf which has outlived its lifespan, a development that did not please some teams such as Be Forward Wanderers and Nyasa Big Bullets who use it as their home ground.
Mzuzu University (Mzuni) FC team doctor Christopher Mwenegamba said: “Considering the current state of the turf, FAM has made a wise decision. In its present state, the turf has the potential to cause injuries such as hamstring, groin and soft tissues.
“Clubs and fans need to value their players’ careers other than just looking at their interests alone.”
Kaponda Masiye, who is head of non-communicable diseases, injuries and mental health at the Ministry of Health’s Clinical Directorate, said a worn-out turf also exposes players to mental problems.
“Worn out artificial turf exposes some metals such as the lead which is hazardous to players. It causes mental problems. When a player tackles an opponent and falls on the turf, the victim risks suffering bruises/lesions which may lead to infections such as methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus.
“This is a type of infection that is difficult to treat as it is resistant to most commonly used antibiotics, which could lead to prolonged illness. You never know, we may also have a player who is asthmatic and he/she is likely to go into an attack because of the turf dust.
“FAM’s decision is, therefore, commendable,” he said.
Silver Strikers captain Blessing Tembo said: “Honestly, in its current state, the turf is not good for us players because it’s easy for us to get injured. It’s good that FAM has decided to take that stand.”
Wanderers and Flames forward Ishmael Thindwa said while acknowledging that the decision to bar the stadium from hosting matches will affect Blantyre-based teams, players’ welfare should be given utmost priority.
“Chithu Chija chidalimba, moti pano umakhala ngati ukuyenda pa cement [the turf’s surface is now hard, it’s like you are walking on concrete]. It contributes a lot to ankle injuries. They just need to replace it before the start of the second round.
“Of course, it will be a disadvantage to our team because it means playing most of our games outside Blantyre, but under the circumstances I am afraid that is the only available option,” he said.
FAM president Walter Nyamilandu told the Weekend Nation that the association will not bow down to pressure from the clubs to reverse its decision in the interest of players. n