Some football supporters have given Football Association of Malawi (FAM) up to May 31 to restart football or face unspecified action.
The supporters’ petition, delivered to FAM president Walter Nyamilandu yesterday at Mpira Village, FAM headquarters in Chiwembe in Blantyre, comes after the suspension of football in April following government’s coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic social distancing precautionary measure.
Led by Be Forward Wanderers supporters chairperson Mervin Nkunika and his general secretary (GS) Samuel Mponda, Nyasa Big Bullets supporters director Stone Mwamadi and his GS Mabvuto Chibambo, the fans want football to resume before the month ends.
Mponda said: “Masapota anena kuti tikambe nanu inuyo a president, muwona kopita nayo nkhaniyi…mwezi usanathe mpira uyambike. Ngati mpira suyambika mwezi uno kuwoneka zoopsa kwambiri. Ndipo ifeyo ngati atsogoleri a masapota a mpira sitizachitira mwina koma tizawatsogolera omwe anatisankha kupanga zomwe akufuna. [The supporters we represent have asked us to deliver the message that football must resume before the month end or else something terrible will happen],” he said.
Chibambo said time had come for FAM to consider resuming football just like other social activities have done.
He said: “When FAM decided to suspend football in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we understood. As supporters we accepted the directive and followed the precautionary measures set by government. Three months later, political parties have started organising rallies involving thousands of people.
“We are not saying Covid-19 is not dangerous. It is dangerous, just like other diseases. But in three months three people have died of coronavirus and more have perhaps died of other diseases. As such, we feel we still can have football matches even when there is coronavirus, because the threat is not so big.”
The supporters, however, have proposed that Kamuzu Stadium capacity should be reduced from 14 000 to 5 000 once football resumes.
“FAM can increase the gate charges from K2 000 to K3 000 so that it is cushioned from the cost of hosting a match with just 5 000 supporters,” said Chibambo.
On safety of players, Chibambo said FAM and Sulom can test all players before football resumes.
“We have seen in Bundesliga in Germany that body contact is not an issue as long as the players are tested before the matches,” he said.
In response, Nyamilandu said FAM Covid-19 Task Force and competitions subcommittee will meet this Saturday to draw up a proposal (which will include the supporters’ petition) to be presented to government.
Confederation of African Football (CAF) has indicated that football will only resume when the situation improves.