FAM has said even though the October 17 resumption date is close to the end of the year, the new season will still kick off at all costs.
This follows the decision by the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 on Thursday to allow sporting activities to resume, ending a seven-month suspension as a preventive measure against the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
But while Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu said they are conscious of the need to give players ample time to gain match fitness and prepare for other logistics, the new season will still proceed.
He said: “We do not have the luxury to wait until next year. The season will still kick off this year and a revised calendar will be issued to this effect.
“We cannot afford to be idle the whole year, the teams have sufficient time to train and recover.
“We can still salvage the season by ending the year with a bang where we have a Christmas festive season which is action packed with entertainment of football activities.”
The FAM president has since hinted that the season could start in November or early December.
“But we’ll have to consult other stakeholders such as Sulom [Super League of Malawi] and sponsors,” said Nyamilandu.
He also said they are delighted with the news to resume sports in general and football in particular.
Said Nyamilandu: “It’s a step in the right direction having been on suspension since March. We will now proceed with our preparations in earnest to ensure that all the players and officials return to football safely without the risk exposure of Covid-19.
“We appreciate the understanding that has been demonstrated by Malawi Government for sports to resume. This gives us time to test all players and officials before they start training.”
On his part, Sulom general secretary Williams Banda said the roadmap towards football restart will determine the kick off dates.
“However, we have to be mindful of the weather [considering the approaching rainy season], conditions of the infrastructure as well as financial and economic impacts of Covid-19,” he said.
Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) president Khungekile Matiya yesterday said the association’s executive committee will meet to determine the way forward.
She said: “Personally, I feel we should just wait for next year to ensure a proper and smooth take off.
“However, we still have the Presidential Cup national finals which we feel, have to be played.
“But having said that, as NAM we will meet all the stakeholders for their input and then determine the way forward.”
Initially, both FAM and NAM set September end as the cut-off point for resumption or else they would declare the 2020 season lost.
Approving the resumption of sports during a press conference held in Lilongwe on Thursday, Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo-Chiponda, who is also the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 co-chairperson, said: “We believe all sporting codes will adhere to Covid-19 preventive measures which include testing of players and all technical staff.
“We allowed them on the basis that athletes need to get stamina before actual resumption of the games. We are encouraged with the situation on the ground.”
However, the task force could not be drawn to comment on whether spectators will be allowed to watch the games.