Super League of Malawi (Sulom) today starts interface meetings with its affiliates to brainstorm on how the league can resume once government gives a go-ahead.
Sulom has organised three meetings with Blantyre-based teams today, Lilongwe-based outfits tomorrow and Mzuzu-based clubs on Saturday.
The meetings, which will also attract representatives from Football Association of Malawi (FAM) and supporters, could also tackle the possibility of a change in format to counter the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sulom president Tiya Somba-Banda confirmed that the meetings will tackle all suggestions on how the league can resume amid the coronavirus, including change in format if the need arises as proposed by clubs.
“After FAM presented to government the road map to football resumption, we felt it is important to meet our affiliates to brief them on the situation.
“I can’t wait to play again once government gives us the green light to resume football.
“Without pre-empting whatever will be discussed, the meetings will look at issues such as what to expect once government says we should play without supporters because that will have a financial impact on the clubs.”
Asked if the meeting will discuss some clubs’ proposal on changing the format, Somba-Banda said: “We will look at the calendar and format of the league because if we do not start the league by October or November, we indeed might need to make some changes to that.”
Mzuzu Warriors suggested playing the 2020 season on regional basis and conducting play-offs at national level.
The club’s general secretary Donnex Cholonga said: “We are of the view that if the league is to resume without spectators, Sulom and FAM should extend the Covid-19 relief fund to clubs for transport, accommodation and meals.
“In this case, games can be played as usual while adhering to the strict preventive measures. If it will not be possible to extend the relief to clubs, then let the games be played at regional level first then have national play-offs.”
While supporting playing at regional level, Silver Strikers chief executive officer Thokozani Chimbali was against national play-offs.
“Other regions have more teams than others; it would, therefore, be difficult for all regions to be treated the same. Moreover, this is a national league and using play-offs would mean it is now a regional league.
“So, we would support playing games at regional level but involving all the 16 TNM Super League teams and not just from one region. For example, all teams from Central Region can travel to Southern Region to play games against teams from that side, let’s say in one or two weekends. The other regions can also do the same until we play all the games.”
Be Forward Wanderers general secretary Victor Maunde said the club is open to suggestions to change the format if the worse comes to the worst, as long as it helps minimise chances of contracting the disease.
“We are open to any methodology that can be used to play the league and prevent the spread of Covid-19 because we value the lives of our players more than money,” he said.
Some countries such as South Africa are also exploring assembling teams to play at the same time after undergoing tests.
However, their leagues are set to conclude after they were suspended in March while the TNM Super League is yet to kick off after government banned contact sports.