Football fans in Malawi want the beautiful game to resume

The sport was suspended in March as part of measures to manage and mitigate possible coronavirus infections. 

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Football fans in Malawi have handed over a memorandum to authorities calling for the beautiful game to resume despite the coronavirus pandemic, local media reported on Thursday.

News website, Malawi 24 reported that the fans delivered the document to the president of the Football Association of Malawi (FAM), Walter Nyamilandu, who was negotiating with authorities for the resumption of matches.

The sport was suspended in March as part of measures to manage and mitigate possible coronavirus infections.

Nyamilandu told the fans that FAM was seeking the guidance and cooperation of the relevant authorities on the matter.

The supporters said they wanted games to resume because most sectors in the country were no longer adhering to social distancing measures, which led to Malawi’s Covid-19 lockdown and gatherings’ ban in the first place.

In the memorandum, the fans cited the holding of massive political rallies, the normal operation of markets, church gatherings, and open bars and night clubs as examples that life was back to normal.

“As FAM we would also want football to start. But we will do it in a proper manner that takes into consideration the safety of all of us,” Nyamilandu reportedly told supporters in Blantyre.

He said the playing of the sport was meant to resume in September.

According to a report in The Nation newspaper, supporters had given the football controlling body until May 31 to restart matches or face unspecified action.

The supporters proposed that the capacity of Kamuzu Stadium be reduced from 14,000 to 5,000 once matches resumed, as a measure to contain possible outbreaks of the virus.

Malawi’s sports minister, Francis Phiso, told Malawi24 that football remained temporarily suspended.

Following large gatherings at political rallies, the country’s musicians announced that they would resume with live shows.

Reggae artist Ralph Kapanga set a date for a live concert in Balaka on May 29.

President Peter Mutharika imposed the ban on public gatherings as part of sweeping measure to curtail the spread of Covid-19, which resulted in the closure of schools, suspension of all sporting events and limits on religious gatherings.

The Nation further reported that health experts had rebuked politicians for disregarding Covid-19 precautionary measures during campaign rallies, saying they were threatening the lives of citizens when the outbreak was nearing its peak.

The health experts suggested that if politicians wanted to continue with rallies ahead of the country’s presidential election re-run on July 2, they needed to distribute masks to attendees, ban citizens over 60-years-old and those with chronic illnesses from attending, and ensure health care personnel were on hand in rally areas.

Malawi has thus far registered 71 Covid-19 infections, three deaths, and 27 recoveries.

In partnership with ANA and Sports Leo

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