Sports Minister elusive on games resumption

Francis Phiso

Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Francis Phiso has said football lovers should wait for instructions from the Ministry of Health before they return to the field of play due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.

President Peter Mutharika ordered suspension of meetings involving more than 100 people and sports was not spared.

However, the recent political situation where major parties including that of the President have been holding rallies while defying their own COVID-19 measures have forced some football teams to return to the ground for some social games.

Sports analysts have backed the idea of resuming play saying it does not make sense having politicians conduct rallies without observing social distance, while sports, which is a source of living for players and officials remain locked out.

But Phiso told local radio stations in response, that it is still risky to make that decision.

Wanderers players take COVID-19 precautions during training
Wanderers players take COVID-19 precautions during training

“Resuming play at this time is risking not only the lives of the players, but also the supporters. Let us not follow what politicians are doing. We are always working with the Ministry of Health for advice on the way forward and we will be ready to announce the return of games when we get their assurance. Let me say again that it is not safe to start playing games now,” he said.

Flames captain, John Banda last week also urged fellow players and other sports lovers to wait for the right time.

Football Association of Malawi (FAM) general secretary, Alfred Gunda said recently that the social football games are beyond their jurisdiction as they only regulate association football.

In Germany, Bundesliga returned into action last weekend played indoors with English Leagues to follow.