Despite government’s ban on all contact sporting activities, including football, due to the coronavirus, some TNM Super League clubs have started training ahead of the planned 2020 season kick-off scheduled for August 8.
Super League of Malawi (Sulom) says it fears that since the clubs defying the ban have not undergone the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) planned mandatory testing, there is high risk of infections among players, thereby threatening the football resumption.
FAM suspended all football activities in March following government’s ban on all public gatherings of over 100 people as a precautionary measure.
The association has proposed that football should resume August 8 2020 and conclude on May 30 2021, with training sessions and pre-season friendly matches set for next month.
However, some TNM Super League clubs are not waiting for the association to get a green light from government.
Silver Strikers players were pictured training in small groups at their backyard although the Bankers’ chief executive officer Thokazani Chimbali said this was not sanctioned by the club.
It is also business as usual for Malawi Defence Force (MDF) outfits such as promoted Salima-based Mafco FC and Mzuzu-based giants Moyale Barracks FC.
Kamuzu Barracks team manager Frank Banda and Mafco coach Stereo Gondwe both confirmed their outfits had started preparations for the forthcoming season.
Blantyre-based rookies Ntopwa FC on Monday also announced they would resume training on Wednesday.
A statement from Ntopwa said the training would start at Bangwe Youth Centre Ground since Kamuzu Stadium is yet to be disinfected after hosting returnees from South Africa, some whom tested positive for Covid-19.
Though the clubs said they are following precautionary measures such as washing hands, Sulom president Tiya Somba-Banda warned of the repercussions.
He said: “If just one of their players is infected with the Covid-19, it will be impossible to kick off the league.”
Somba said the clubs risk sanctions if they do not suspend the sessions.
Soccer analyst Charles Nyirenda said failing to discipline the clubs that are training is unfair to those that are observing the ban.
“Those that are training will have an added advantage against those that are observing the ban. By the time FAM gets government’s nod to resume football, those that are training now will not be at the same level in terms of fitness,” he said.
Meanwhile, Nyasa Big Bullets have said they will wait until government lifts the restriction.
“We don’t want to be a controversial football club that wants to do things against the set out measures,” said Bullets chief administration officer Albert Chigoga.