Public gathering restrictions to contain further spread of Covi-19 have thrown football in a dilemma that could complicate regional league teams’ promotion to the TNM Super League if not well synchronised.
Regional football associations have since proposed a change to their leagues’ format when football resumes after Covid-19 restrictions of 50 people in public are relaxed.
If the regional leagues will not change their format, they could finish their fixtures in December, while the flagship TNM Super League is expected to conclude by July and the new season scheduled for September.
Southern Region Football Association (SRFA) has proposed that their 20 ThumbsUp Premier Division teams be divided into four groups, playing home-and-away matches.
The proposal is to have the top-two from each group play-offs that will produce semi-finalists and eventual winners will compete for the ultimate title and the Super League promotion.
Their Central and Northern region counterparts CRFA (with 24 teams) and NRFA (18 teams) have opted for zonal encounters, whose winners will engage in play-offs for regional ambassadors in the Super League.
SRFA chairperson Raphael Humba yesterday said the proposed format fits well with their clubs.
He said: “We have proposed a different format from our counterparts due to our clubs geographical positions; they are located far apart, making the demarcation of zones difficult.
“We have to thoroughly discuss this issue with our sponsors before FAM makes a final decision on the way forward.”
On his part, NRFA general secretary Masiya Nyasulu and his CRFA counterpart Bernard Chiwiriwiri Harawa said they believe the zonal format is ideal on their part.
Nyasulu said they need to squeeze their programme to cope with the revised football calendar to identify their champions and elite league candidates for Super League promotion.
This comes after Football Association of Malawi (FAM), through its Covid-19 Task Force on Wednesday met the regional leagues to develop a football restart plan.
FAM executive committee member Felistus Dossi, who is also the association’s competitions sub-committee vice-chairperson, said they will sit down to scrutinise the regional leagues’ proposals before making a final decision.
“Based on the regional leagues’ proposals, we will come up with a single format,” she said.