Malawi national football team (Flames) international friendly match against Uganda Cranes scheduled for next Wednesday, is in suspense due to the health risk following the outbreak of the deadly Ebola disease in the East African domain.
Malawiâ€™s Ministry of Health spokesperson Henry Chimbali and FAM president Walter Nyamilandu confirmed the development on Tuesday.
Chimbali said they are not taking any chances on the matter and the ministry has contacted World Health Organisation (WHO) Malawi office on what precautionary measures are being pursued.
“The Ministry of Health in Uganda has informed us through WHO (Malawi) that selection for the Ugandan players has not yet been done and it will be done on August 9 [Thursday].
“They have promised to be in contact with us as regards all the entourage and also consider the risk that the whole entourage may pose if not carefully selected and once we get more update, we will advise FAM on what they need to do.
“What you need to know is that Ebola is a highly contagious disease and requires strict medical and treatment measures to manage it. As of August 4, 53 people had been infected and 17 have died so far,” said Chimbali in an e-mail response.
Nyamilandu said they are consulting all the stakeholders on the health risk that Malawi will be exposed to should they host the Ugandans.
“We are talking to the ministries of Health and Sports and we will be in a better position by the end of this week on whether the match should go on or not,” said Nyamilandu.
Asked if FAM has plan B should the Ministry of Health advise against going ahead with staging the match, Nyamilandu said: “We are also looking at some contingency arrangement and we will try to arrange another international friendly match that might be played later this month.”
Ugandaâ€™s President Yoweri Museveni recently urged people in his country to avoid physical contact after the deadly disease claimed several lives.
Museveni said more than 15 people had died since the outbreak began in western Kampala.
Museveni further said health officials were trying to trace everyone who had contact with the victims so that they could be quarantined.
“People should avoid shaking hands, kissing or having sex to prevent the disease from spreading,” the Ugandan president was quoted as saying.
Ebola, one of the most virulent diseases in the world, is spread by close personal contact and can kill up to 90 percent of those infected.