Playing it safe

FAM and Sulom have set strict conditions for clubs that have resolved to continue training in the wake of suspension of local sporting events due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu and his Super League of Malawi (Sulom) counterpart Tiya Somba Banda said they will set guidelines that clubs will have to adhere to.

Nomads captured in training

But other teams have since taken a break as a way of cutting costs and exercising caution.

Said Nyamilandu: “It is our expectation that the clubs will be training under controlled conditions and strict health guidelines where hygiene is not compromised. Such measures include but not limited to washing of hands before and after training with detergents as the first step to demonstrate our seriousness to protect our players from contracting Covid-19.

“Being a contact sport, we also expect that all players will be tested regularly by qualified medical practitioners and that a team doctor will be available during training sessions to respond to cases as and when they arise.”

He also said it is important to ensure that during this period, the training sessions are not over crowded by fans to ensure that the gathering doesn’t exceed 100 people.

“FAM is working on developing appropriate guidelines to be followed by the clubs and all football stakeholders to prevent the spread of the pandemic. Once approved by the Ministry of Health [and Population], it will be shared to all stakeholders within the football fraternity.

“We are monitoring the situation closely in Malawi and should the situation worsen, we will not hesitate to enforce tougher and stricter conditions over and above the suspension of football matches.”

On his part, Somba-Banda said: “Clubs are advised to have a team doctor to check all players on daily basis before training, especially for vital signs. The team doctors are advised to avail themselves during training, otherwise training should be suspended.”

Be Forward Wanderers, Nyasa Big Bullets, Silver Strikers and  Civil Service (Civo) United yesterday confirmed that they will carry on with their normal training sessions.

Nomads general secretary (GS) Victor Maunde said: “We had a meeting yesterday [Sunday] where it was resolved to continue with our preparations because we are not sure of the exact date when the suspension will be lifted and we do not want to be caught off-guard.”

However, the Nomads GS said as a precautionary measure and in keeping up with President Peter Mutharika’s directive to restrict public gathering to less than 100 people, they will not allow supporters at their training sessions.

“We have also put in place a number of preventive measures that will be effected by our team doctor,” he said.

On his part, Bullets chief administration officer Albert Chigoga said: “We will continue with training for now.”

Silver chief executive officer Thoko Chimbali said: “We have taken hygiene measures and we will carry on with out training schedules because we do not want to lose the gains from our preparations so far..

“However, if the suspension prolongs, then we might explore the option of having a break.”

Civo GS Ronald Chiwaula said: “Our training schedules will go ahead because we are not sure when exactly the suspension will be lifted. We just have to be cautious on the preventive measures such as restricting our gathering to not more than 100 people.”

Savenda Chitipa United chairperson Daud Kainga said they will be having erratic training sessions, “it will not be something serious”.

Blue Eagles, Kamuzu Barracks (KB), Mighty Tigers, Ekwendeni Hammers, TN Stars and Karonga United have said they will put on hold their training sessions.

Tigers director Robin Alufandika and his Ntopwa FC counterpart Isaac Jomo Osman said apart from the aspect prevention, they have suspended training because it will affect them financially. TN Stars spokesperson Jones Banda said: “As a temporary measure, we have suspended training, but we are planning to meet on Thursday so that we map the way forward.”

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