This is it! Football Association of Malawi (FAM) says it won’t take part In Cosafa tournaments this year due to players’ inactivity as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The development comes in the wake of the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) executive committee resolution on Thursday that it will stage all its tournaments.
In an interview yesterday, FAM president Walter Nyamilandu, who is also a Cosafa executive committee member, also doubted the practicality of hosting the tournaments.
He said: “I have my reservations and it remains to be seen if this will materialise.
“It is certain that Malawi is bound to lose out this year because we won’t be ready.”
However, this means Malawi will not have a chance to compete for the Confederation of African Football (CAF) junior tournaments for Under-17 and Under-20.
Should FAM go ahead with the plans not to take part in the tournaments, they will not be penalised as Cosafa deputy chief executive officer Suzgo Nyirenda yesterday said: “Sanctions are done when a team confirms its participation but withdraws, especially with about three months to the tournament.
“But if a team does not show interest or confirm participation, then there are no penalties.”
Football analysts George Kaudza Masina also cast doubt on Cosafa hosting the tournaments this year.
Said Kaudza Masina: “This is very strange coming from Cosafa. Realistically, this is unattainable considering that football in most of the countries affiliated to Cosafa is suspended.
“Currently we only have the Zambia league in progress which is also ending abruptly this weekend due to the rising cases of Covid-19.”
“From the look of things, Cosafa might be more interested in themonetary gains than the development of the game itself.”
He said Cosafa member associations need to take precautionary measures by either pushing for the cancellation of the tournaments or boycotting the tournaments altogether.
“Otherwise this could be a recipe for disaster. Let the tournaments be shifted to next year for the sake of combating the virus,” he said.
Flames coach Meck Mwase said the decision by FAM “makes a lot of sense” considering the current situation.
“No league has taken place this season and, therefore, the players won’t be ready for the tournaments.
“It could be better if they wait for the situation to improve and then reschedule the tournaments, otherwise it would also affect the rhythm if the tournaments are to be held,” he said.
Part of a statement released by Cosafa reads: “As Cosafa continues to monitor [Covid-19] situations in its member associastions, the executive committee has today 6th August 2020 approved the competitions calendar.
“The Mauritius Football Association has registered its interest to host both Under-17 boys zonal qualifiers in November and the Under-20 boys zonal qualifiers in December. The South Africa Football Association has also indicated to host senior men’s [tournament] in Durban, but dates and month would be communicated.”
“It further states that South Africa has also committed to host the senior women’s and the Under-17 girls’ tournaments in Port Elizabeth.”