Some TNM Super League clubs’ captains have differed on whether football, which was suspended due to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, should resume in the wake of a petition presented to FAM by a section of the fans.
Nyasa Big Bullets captain John Lanjesi and his Be Forward Wanderers counterpart Alfred Manyozo Jnr said they are of the view that the game can resume.
Said Lanjesi: “Personally, I feel the fans have a point to push for the resumption of the game because the effects are not as deadly as in most countries. The other thing is that politicians are able to address rallies which attract thousands of people and, therefore, why not football?
“So, far we have only registered three deaths as a country and most of those affected are recovering and we should thank God Almighty for that. Apart from that, as players our welfare has been greatly affected due to the suspension of games since we depend on football for our livelihood.”
On his part, Manyozo said: “The pandemic is there and it is deadly, but I feel the game can resume provided that the authorities are strict on enforcing preventive measures.
“As players, not only has the situation affected our welfare, but also our physical condition. We rely on football for a living and that should be taken into consideration.”
However, Blue Eagles captain Micium Mhone and his Civil Service (Civo) United counterpart Raphael Phiri are of the view that the games should still be on suspension.
Said Mhone: “At a time when Covid-19 cases are on the rise, we cannot afford to toy around with the idea of resuming football.
“On the surface, it might look simple because of the number of deaths, but this virus is real and deadly.”
He said while supporters have the right to demand resumption of the games, the safety of players also needs to be taken into consideration.
“Supporters might come up with their own preventive measures, but have they thought about the players?…. Because this is a contact game and after every match, everyone heads home and we interact with different people. We have missed the game so much and as players, we are missing out big time because we depend on football, but we need to be cautious,” said Mhone.
Phiri said authorities should not be forced to lift the suspension, “rather there is need to carry out a proper postmortem on whether we are indeed ready to resume”.
He said: “It might look simple now, but when the virus starts taking a toll, it will be too late. My personal view is that we should wait until the situation is ideal to resume matches.
Silver Strikers skipper Young Chimodzi Jnr described the situation as tricky.
He said: “To me, I would say it’s 50-50. On one hand, we rely on football and the suspension of the game has affected us greatly.
“At the same time we need to understand the seriousness of the virus and the need to be careful. It might look simple for now, but slowly the numbers are increasing and soon it could be worse.
“So, to me which ever way is welcome provided our safety as players is guaranteed.”
As of yesterday, the country had registered 82 Covid-19 cases and three deaths.