Football in Malawi faces a race against time to get the 2020 season under way soon as the country deals with the COVID-19 pandemic, warned the country’s football association president Walter Nyamilandu.
“It is a very difficult situation now in Malawi due to the pandemic, our case numbers are rising,” the Football Association of Malawi President, who is also a member of the FIFA governing council, told The COSAFA Show podcast last week.
“Malawi is experiencing a peak, life is very tough. You have death all around and people who are very sick and the economic situation is also down. The situation is very bleak.
“The Malawi government announced a state of disaster in March which led to a prohibition on public gatherings and we were forced to suspend all football activities.”
Nyamilandu said since they had been hoping to kick off the 2020 campaign, developing a blue print for a return which projected the season would need to be underway some time this month at the latest.
“We have spoken to a lot of stakeholders about getting the game back underway from the ministry of health down to our sponsors and we produced our blueprint to convince them that football could start safely, but unfortunately as we were about to kick off the rate of infections rose rapid.
“Now we wait to hear from government about what is the way forward. At this stage there is no football activity; no clubs are training and no matches are taking place. Life has changed completely.”
Nyamilandu said he was hoping for a government greenlight for football to resume in September, but if not they will abandon the season and start again early next year with the 2021 campaign.
“We will lose the 2020 season completely but it is force majeure, beyond our control and everybody will understand. Hopefully we can just prepare for a new season next year.”