Football Association of Malawi (FAM) says the suspension of games due to the new coronavirus pandemic includes training matches.
FAM president Walter Nyamilandu said this after some teams were involved in training games even after the suspension.
“There seems to be some misunderstanding as regards the suspension of matches due to the Covid-19 as some teams are reportedly arranging training matches.
“As far as we are concerned, FAM has suspended any form of competition between two clubs or more.
“So, the idea of a training or friendly match between clubs is not acceptable,” he said.
A number of teams were at the weekend forced to cancel training matches and one of them was between Mighty Tigers and Sable Farming which was scheduled for Mpira Stadium in Chiwembe Township, Blantyre.
A statement issued by FAM on the preventive guidelines states that coaches should avoid conducting sessions that put players in close contact.
“This is the advice that has been given by the Ministry of Health and Population in conjunction with experts from the College of Medicine.
“Some of the training sessions that deliberately involve players carrying each other, holding hands etc. can be avoided,” said Nyamilandu.
FAM competitions and communication director Gomezgani Zakazaka said they will see to it 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 of medical personnel who should check the body temperatures of players before training starts; 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,” he said.
Zakazaka said they will be closely monitoring clubs’ training sessions.
Seasoned midfielder Chimango Kayira said the situation will affect players’ fitness.
Said the Nyasa Big Bullets captain: “Not only fitness levels, but the suspension of in general will also affect our financial stability. We had just finished our pre-season and teams were ready for the opening fixtures only to be told to stop, it is a crisis. “But considering how deadly the virus is, I think it is of paramount importance that we stay safe in our houses waiting for the day we will be told to start. I urge all players to refrain from things that will drain the fitness we’ve struggled so hard to attain. It is imperative that we remain committed to the game and stay focused on the goals we have to achieve this year.”