FAM says it will extend the cut-off point for a delayed season kick-off from end September to November as it awaits a determination by the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 on sports resumption.
Two months ago, Football Association of Malawi (FAM) set September 30 as the deadline for starting the delayed season or else it would be declared lost.
But even if the greenlight were given now, the season would still kick off end October or early November as both FAM and Super League of Malawi (Sulom) already stated that players would need six weeks of intensive training and friendly matches to get back in shape.
FAM president Walter Nyamilandu yesterday said in the current circumstances, they are bound to extend the cut-off point.
He said: “We can only tell when the season will resume when we have been authorized to start playing football. It also depends on the conditions if any that will be imposed.
“But that said, we could adjust and the season can start this year upon being given the greenlight. A long lay off will not do the players, clubs and the entire football family any good. So, we will seize any opportunity to bounce back immediately.
“Teams would immediately resume training in preparation for kick-off. From our side, all systems are ready to fly. The clubs are ready to start training even tomorrow.
“All we need is to be set free and the rest will follow. Nothing is cast in stone because we are in charge of the football calendar. We will revise it to suit our needs. In my view, we are not far-fetched from our earlier projects of September with October being the worst-case for kick-off.
Sulom general secretary Williams Banda also said they are ready with the logistics such as fixtures and all they are waiting for is the approval from the authorities.
“Of course, teams will need about six weeks of preparations for players to regain fitness and be ready for competitive football,” he said on Monday.
Nyasa Big Bullets chief administration officer Albert Chigoga said: “The uncertainty of football resumption is not only creating psychological trauma in football players and club owners, it is also not good for our football generally. At whatever point, it is better to restart than completely cancel the football season. If we cancel, Malawi will lag behind for international tournaments and our football season will be a standalone.”
On his part, Silver Strikers chief executive officer Thoko Chimbali said they would prefer that the season should still proceed “and maybe reduce the preparation period to four weeks”.
He said: “The onus will be on the teams’ management to raise fitness levels of their players within four weeks.
“The good thing is that most of the players have been working so hard by themselves [at least for us].”
However, Civil Service (Civo) United general secretary Ronald Chiwaula was of a different view, saying: “Our take is that cancelling the 2020 football calendar would be ideal to concentrate on a fresh start altogether.”
In an interview on Monday, Minister of Information Gospel Kazako, who is also government spokesperson, said sports resumption is being treated with urgency.
He said: “The subcommittee is working on TORs [terms of reference] on what is it that they can present to the main committee to ensure that there is compliance.
“A decision will then be made by the main committee after the submissions from the subcommittee have been made. But they were asked to do that very quickly and treat it as a matter of urgency.”
Sports activities were suspended in march this year as a preventive measure against the spread of the virus.