Uncertainty on league resumption likely to affect players- analyst

TNM Super League 2020

Uncertainty on the resumption of football activities in the country, especially the TNM Super League may likely have an effect on the players’ performance levels, says renowned football analyst Higger Mkandawire.

Mkandawire was responding to a question on the effects of the decision to suspend the league to avoid the further spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) disease.

Super League of Malawi (Sulom) suspended the league for three weeks following direction by the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 in its new guidelines which allows only 50 people per public gathering.

Chairperson of the Taskforce, Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo-Chiponda recently said the return of sports activities and schools is not automatic as they have to monitor the COVID-19 figures if they are dropping.

Mkandawire said unlike the off-season period where players know when play resumes, this arrangement is very tricky.

“After some months without playing, we all witnesses that the players’ performance dropped. Some struggled with fitness and as they were striving to regain it, then the suspension comes again. Psychologically the players are affected because they are training but not sure when the games resume. Some players will even relax since they feel like they are training for nothing,” he said.

Mkandawire then urged Sulom and Football Association of Malawi (FAM) to engage the Taskforce and liaise on the football return with some measures in place to avoid the spread of the virus.

“I have always said that COVID-19 is amongst us and is here to stay. In some countries it is business as usual with sports, not that they are defying COVID-19 rules, but have set up strict measures. We have seen in other countries they have reduced the number of players on the bench apart from other measures. We can also do the same. Because as it stands, what if the figures do not drop until October? Then players have to stay at home with no idea on when they will return into the pitch?,” he wondered.

The league was suspended while in its eighth week.

A number of players from various teams contracted the virus, were isolated and recovered.