As the football fraternity is gearing for the kick-off of the 2020 TNM Super League season, Sulom has issued precautionary measures to be undertaken at matches to prevent coronavirus.
Super League of Malawi (Sulom) president Tiya Somba-Banda yesterday said in an interview they have issued measures that fans, players and officials should take at matches.
He said: “At the matches, we are advising fans to follow the precautionary measures that World Health Organisation [WHO] has put in place such as washing your hands frequently and thoroughly with an alcohol-based hand rub or with soap and water as this kills viruses that may be on your hands; maintaining social distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing; avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth because hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses and if contaminated, they can transfer the viruses into the body through the eyes, nose and mouth.”
The Sulom president also advised clubs to avoid sharing water bottles and sanitary materials during matches.
Somba Banda said clubs must ensure they have enough of these tools so that players do no share them during matches.
“Players must also avoid unnecessary body contact such as in goal celebrations,” he said.
Somba Banda also advised stadium owners to ensure that their venues have running water and soap at all times during matches.
“All the match venues that were certified to host matches have running water. We hope the status quo will remain. The stadium owners must also ensure they have soap in their washing rooms.”
There have been calls to postpone the kick-off of the season as some associations have done, but football authorities in the country have insisted that there is no threat worth making the move since there are no reported cases of the pandemic in the country so far.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu said despite the league kicking off this weekend, they would continue to seek advice from Ministry of Health and Population Services on the situation.
He said: “We are in close contact with the Ministry of Health on the status of coronavirus in Malawi and seeking their guidance from time to time.
“If the situation becomes unfavourable and once it has been declared that we are not safe in Malawi, we will not hesitate to take necessary action to protect the safety of our players, officials and fans.
“At the moment, we are closely watching the situation and following events as they unfold. For this reason, the season will kick off this weekend as planned unless otherwise stated.”
Some of the countries that have postponed football leagues in the wake of the coronavirus are South Africa, Morocco, England, Germany, Belgium, Brazil, Namibia, Swaziland, Botswana, Mexico, Italy, Scotland, Australia, Wales, Greece and France. Uefa has postponed Europa Cup and Uefa Champions League while Confederation of African Football has also postponed two rounds of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers.