TNM Super League clubs captains yesterday met Football Association of Malawi (FAM) on Covid-19 and plans to restart football where they pleaded with the association to increase the monthly K40 000 stipend.
Led by national team captain John CJ Banda the club captains said they appreciate the efforts FAM has put in place amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We appreciate what they have been doing. So, we came to hear from them what measures they have taken for the restart,” said CJ Banda.
The Mozambique-based attacking midfielder, however, said the players told FAM that they are not satisfied with the K40 000 allowance, saying it is on the lower side.
“We are not satisfied but they say they will review the amount in September though I can’t say by how much,” said CJ Banda.
But FAM Covid-19 Relief Fund task force chairperson Chimango Munthali said they will make a proposal to FAM executive committee.
FAM President Walter Nyamilandu, who attended the meeting, said the association has put in place a detailed medical protocol to ensure that players are protected from the pandemic.
Said Nyamilandu: “You are the main actors of the game and as FAM, we are more interested in your day to day lives. After meeting, all key stakeholders [agreed], there was need to have an audience with you as well as we continue to get ideas on how best we can restart football in a very safe manner.
“We have come up with protocols that will cover the whole process from the start of trainings to match days with emphasis on your safety.”
The players said they are struggling financially as some clubs have stopped paying their staff while others are receiving half pay.
Some national team players also expressed fears about match fitness for international matches as the Flames are expected to return to Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in November.
Football Players Association (FPA) chairperson Jimmy Zakazaka commended FAM for the football resumption roadmap and urged players to join the association if they are to remain united.
He said: “We applaud FAM and Sulom for giving us hope that the game will return in the safest manner.
FAM suspended all association football activities on March 20 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and has for the past months been holding football restart consultative meetings with various stakeholders as the association is preparing for the phase two of the Covid-19 relief funds package.
While phase one used FAM’s operation funds, the second phase is expected to utilise the association’s $1.5 million (about K1.1 billion) it received from Fifa in July.
The world football governing body disbursed the amount with $1 million (about 750 million) meant to cushion associations from the effects of Covid-19 while $500 000 (about K375 million) for women’s football.
According to Fifa, “relevant losses due to Covid-19 include, but are not limited to, lost revenues due to the pandemic while relevant needs may include, but are not limited to, the use of funding for the restart of competitions across all categories; the implementation of return-to-play protocols, including testing; the participation of national teams of all age categories in restarted competitions; the payment of staff costs and re-hiring of essential staff where necessary; the maintenance of footballing infrastructure; and the payment of general administration and operating costs where the situation requires.”