Football Association of Malawi (FAM) was yesterday forced to cancel a parade to celebrate Flames 2022 Africa Cup of Nations’ qualification in the wake of Covid-19 prevention measures.
The Flames edged Uganda’s Cranes 1-0 at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre on Monday to seal their qualification for Cameroon 2022.
FAM general secretary Alfred Gunda confirmed the cancelletion of the event, saying it followed advice from Blantyre City Council (BCC).
He said: “We were planning to have the parade today, but we have put it on hold so that we can plan properly so as not to compromise the safety of the people in the wake of Covid-19.
“We realised that we did not have enough time to plan for the parade, we had made arrangements in a hurry.
“So, after discussions with Blantyre City Council authorities, they have advised us to plan properly which we feel is in order.”
BCC public relations manager Anthony Kasunda confirmed the development in an interview yesterday.
He said: “The issue is that we received a request from FAM for permission to conduct a celebratory parade for the Flames.
“We have no problems with them conducting the parade. In fact, we are equally happy with the feat of our national football team.
“However, we cannot turn a blind eye to the [Covid-19] pandemic which is amongst us.
“So, we have advised them that we should come up with preventive measures first to ensure the safety of the people.”
The current Covid-19 rules stipulate that gatherings must have no more than 50 people present at any given time.
However, hundreds of people took to the streets in Blantyre soon after the match to celebrate the Flames’ third Afcon qualification.
There were scenes so lively as jubilant fans stormed Chipembere Highway, forcing the Flames convoy to move at snail’s pace from the stadium to Golden Peacock Hotel where they were camping.