Council for Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) has postponed the 2020 Women’s Under-17 Championship scheduled for April 17-26 in Mauritius over coronavirus.
Malawi national women’s football team was geared to participate in the competition under the tutelage of newly appointed coach Thom Mkorongo.
According to Cosafa website, the hosts made the decision as a measure to contain the spread of the pandemic in the country.
A Cosafa statement reads in part: “After consultation with various stakeholders, Cosafa can confirm that the 2020 Women’s Under-17 Championship scheduled to be staged in Mauritius from April 17-26 has been postponed.
“This follows a media briefing on Monday , where the Prime Minister of Mauritius, the Honourable Pravind Jugnauth, outlined the nation’s plans to counter the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. This will include the closing of borders with certain countries, which will make travel to the island difficult.”
Cosafa general secretary Sue Destombes was quoted as having said in the statement that although they are disappointed that the tournament will be postponed, they respect the Mauritius government’s decision.
She said: “The health of the public, players, coaches and administrators has to be the top priority and so, like much of the footballing world, we will wait to find the right time to stage this vital competition for the development of our women’s footballers.
“We continue to engage with our valued partners in the Mauritius Football Association and will announce new dates as soon as is feasible. These are uncertain times and so we thank the people of southern Africa, sponsors and all stakeholders for their patience.”
National Women’s Football Association chairperson Suzgo Ngwira said it is a good move, considering that people’s lives are at risk.
“It is a welcome development as safeguarding everyone’s health is a priority. The team was expected to camp soon, considering the fact that Malawi Under-17 is yet to participate at international level,” she said.
In an interview yesterday, Football Association of Malawi general secretary Alfred Gunda also said the decision is a precautionary measure.
He said: “Cosafa, like any other body, is taking a precaution. It should be noted that the virus has been registered in some member associations in Cosafa and just like any other, precaution is key to prevention.
“As Malawi, we will be monitoring the situation at home and following the guidance an d advice that the Minitry of Health and Population will be providing.”
Gunda was quoted by our sister paper, Weekend Nation supporting Confederation of African Football (CAF) decision to postpon Afcon qualifiers scheduled for this weekend.