TNM Super League champions Nyasa Big Bullets have suspended training sessions for all its teams in the wake of the new coronavirus pandemic.
The development comes barely days after the People’s Team said they would continue with their training sessions despite Football Association of Malawi’s move (FAM) all association football matches as a precautionary measure against the Covid-19 outbreak.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the People’s Team states that: “During this period, we have suspended training of all our teams and we discourage our supporters and coordinators from gathering and holding any meetings until further notice.
“This is in accordance with the statement issued by the President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika on measures to combat coronavirus pandemic.
“The well-being of our teams, supporters and all stakeholders is of great concern to us. We urge all our stakeholders to join the fight against this pandemic by following government guidelines regarding hygiene to ensure the well-being of everybody.”
Some top-flight league teams such as Silver Strikers, Be Forward Wanderers and Civil Sporting Club are continuing with their training sessions in preparation for the 2020 season whose kick off date remains uncertain.
Nomads general secretary (GS) Victor Maunde 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 are not allowing 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.
Silver chief executive officer Thoko Chimbali last week 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.”
Civil Service United 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.”
Meanwhile FAM has issued a statement on prevention guidelines for football which among others, outlines that training sessions must be conducted behind closed doors in the absence of supporters and that they should be conducted in an environment of not more than 50 people.
“Training sessions shall only be conducted in the presence of a team medical personnel who should check the body temperatures of players before training commences; coaches should avoid conducting sessions that put players in very close contact; avoid shaking hands and hugging and that clubs should provide water and soap or sanitisers for washing hands before and after training,” reads part of the statement.
However, football analyst George Kaudza Masina is of the view that some of the preventive measures that FAM has come up with for teams that are still training, are a nonstarter.
“Football is a game of contact and there is no way you can have a training session without body contact. A blanket ban on all training sessions would be the ideal way to go,” he said.