Covid-19 testing for athletes as a requirement for the resumption of sports is haunting sports bodies as the cost of carrying out the exercise is high.
Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 recommended that athletes should be tested for the disease.
And a letter from Malawi National Council of Sports to associations, dated October 2, signed by sports development manager Ruth Mzengo, states that: “This letter serves to inform you that government through the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 has granted approval for phase two of sporting activities [elite league and cups] from October 17 2020 as per guidelines on resumption of sport.
“We, therefore, encourage and urge you to prepare for the re-opening of your activities in line with the Covid-19 guidelines on sports that we shared with you.”
But associations have reservations on the mandatory testing of the athletes, saying they cannot afford them.
Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) president Khungekile Matiya said: “NAM has no capacity to pay for testing fees. NAM has no indoor facility it can use to generate income. In netball, we do not have something similar to Super League.”
While welcoming the resumption of sports, Athletics Association of Malawi (AAM) general secretary Frank Chitembeya said its affiliates cannot afford.
“We are aware that we need to test our athletes for Covid-19, but our clubs and individual athletes cannot manage to pay the fees.
“Actually, we will only check temperatures of athletes to see it they are fit for the national championship in Lilongwe on Saturday.”
Volleyball Association of Malawi (VAM) general secretary also said their clubs do not have stable sponsorships.
“We must not pretend that our teams, be if in football or other sport, are financially fine. The testing fee will be a challenge to many teams, but they can manage other precautionary measures. It will be better to engage Ministry of Health for free testing.”
In an interview on Friday, Nyasa Big Bullets chief administrative officer Albert Chigoga said they arranged with Blantyre Health Office for the players and officials to undergo the testing.
Football Association of Malawi Covid-19 Task Force chairperson Chimango Munthali was quoted in Nation on Sunday’s last week edition as saying the Super League clubs have no capacity to pay for each testing fees. He said they engaged government to test players for free, but Ministry of Health spokesperson Joshua Malango is quoted in Nation on Sunday’s last week edition as saying, there is no such arrangement.