Malawi National Council of Sports has directed that all sports activities be suspended during the 14 days of mourning in honour of the victims of Cyclone Freddy.
In a statement issued Friday, the Council says no formal sporting activity should be held in respect of 326 victims of the cyclone.
The statement reads in part: “All sports associations and their organs should take immediate notice of the suspension.
“Sports Council shall inform sports associations and the nation when formal sporting activities may resume.”
The suspension caught some TNM Super League clubs by surprise as they had arranged friendly matches.
At the time of issuing the statement, FCB Nyasa Bullets were already in Lilongwe to play friendly matches against Kamuzu Barracks at Civo Stadium on yesterday and Extreme FC at Aubrey Dimba Football Ground in Mchinji today.
KB players put on black armbands yesterday in respect of the victims
Bullets chief administration officer Albert Chigoga said the suspension had affected them.
He said: “Of course we have spent of on the trip to Lilongwe for the two friendly matches as we didn’t expect this to happen. But we are aware of this order and we will go by it.”
Bullets opted to play a closed-door training match against Kamuzu Barracks (KB) which ended 1-1, but postponed the friendly match against Extreme FC.
Sports Council board chairperson Sunduzwayo Madise justified the suspension.
He said: “The rationale is not to ban all sporting activities. It is to suspend those activities where spectators would attend and start cheering their teams in the midst of mourning.
“The analogy I can use is in football. We say the fans and spectators are the 12th player.
“Now the 12th player is injured. Will the other players continue playing? But if teams want to have training matches, we should surely allow them as they need to keep fit.”
However, Sports Council has allowed Football Association of Malawi (FAM) to go ahead with FAM National Women’s Championship week two fixtures.
FAM in a statement confirmed the fixtures would go ahead, but without spectators.
“We hereby confirm that having engaged with Malawi National Council of Sports.
“They have approved our request to proceed with the three matches which were scheduled today in Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu.
“Time and venues remain the same for all fixtures. However, spectators are not allowed to patronise the games.”
Madise said they made the exemption considering that the association said the women’s football teams had already travelled to Mzuzu, Lilongwe and Blantyre for the matches.
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