Spectators will not be allowed to watch matches in stadiums following resolutions of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 yesterday to uphold the restriction of public gathering to 100.
The resolutions, read yesterday at a press conference in Lilongwe, monitored on Zodiak Broadcasting Station television, also coincided with some artists’ move to withdraw an injunction they got from the High Court restraining the enforcement of the restrictions.
The task force’s co-chairperson Khumbize Kandodo-Chiponda, who is also Minister of Health, said: “The situation is not looking very good that is why we met this morning to see what we can do.
“We have 55 patients across different isolation centres. This is really a bad situation whereby our numbers double within 24 hours.
“Even sports has not been spared and we heard about Nyasa Big Bullets positive cases… So, with the way the numbers are rising, how can we manage? Let us suffer a little bit to contain the situation. We want them [the sports fraternity] to be safe.”
In his instant reaction, Football Association of Malawi president Walter Nyamilandu said: “Tough times. This calls for new ways of organising football matches We will go back to the drawing board to discuss the latest development.”
On his part, Super League of Malawi president Tiya Somba-Banda said they will comply with the directive.
“But at some point, we will sit down to review the situation with our stakeholders,” he said.
Malawi National Council of Sports acting executive secretary Henry Mereka was not available for comment yesterday, but after the initial announcement of the revised restrictions a fortnight ago, he said spectators would not be allowed stadia access.
“We all just have to comply with the order because this is being done to control the spread of the virus. We have seen that the cases have been on the rise lately,” he said.
But concerned football supporters spokesperson Mabvuto Chibambo expressed disappointment with the development yesterday.
He said: “It is sad because those who depend on football, especially the players, will suffer since most of the teams depend on gate collections.
“Covid-19 cases have not risen because of football, but because authorities relaxed on restrictions, especially at the borders and even the task force itself should partly take the blame.”
The temporary relief granted by the High Court saw spectators being allowed to watch matches in the past two weeks.