Swelling lake affects beach soccer

Swelling lake affects beach soccer

Rising water levels in Lake Malawi have not only affected the hospitality industry but also sports activities, particularly beach soccer, it has emerged.

In Malawi, the sport is played along Lake Malawi beaches in Mangochi, Salima, Nkhotakota, Chintheche in Nkhata Bay and Karonga and currently the venues are not in good shape.

Beach Soccer Association (BSA) technical director Willy Kumilambe said in an interview yesterday that the situation has forced them to put on hold the Beach Soccer League which was scheduled to kick off at the end March.

Chimbalanga: We cannot afford to be idle

He said: “We have been heavily affected.  The swelling of the lake  has resulted in the reduction of the shoreline. This means all our venues have been submerged.”

Malawi Beach Soccer national team captain Isaac Kajamu lamented the situation, saying it has the potential to affect players’ fitness levels.

BSA president Gift Chimbalanga said they have since come up with a temporary plan to have the 2024 HTD National Championship played at the end of this month in Mangochi.

He said: “We are working on an alternative plan. Otherwise, we cannot afford to be idle for a long time while waiting for the situation to normalise.

“We have identified a makeshift venue for the national championship at Sunbird Nkopola Lodge in Mangochi and we are currently working on modalities.”

Meanwhile, soccer analysts have said the situation should be a wake-up call for BSA and Football Association of Malawi (FAM).

One of the analysts George Kaudza Masina said:  “The calamity is a wakeup call for associations to think beyond having beach soccer games along the beaches of the lake.”

On his part, another analyst Julius Mithi said an alternative would be to construct indoor beach soccer stadiums away from the lake.

FAM president Fleetwood Haiya said in an interview that in future, they will ensure that beach soccer pitches are available in places which cannot be affected by high water levels.

He said: “As FAM, we don’t own a single beach soccer pitch. The venues we use belong to our partners such as hotels and lodge owners.

“We have learnt a lesson from this experience and we will find ways of constructing beach soccer pitches in strategic areas across the country that cannot be affected when the water levels rise.”  

The National Water Resources Authority has attributed the swelling of Lake Malawi to consistent higher-than-average rainfall in recent years and projections suggest that the lake’s water levels may remain elevated beyond the previous hydrological year’s measurements.

The post Swelling lake affects beach soccer first appeared on Nation Online.

The post Swelling lake affects beach soccer appeared first on Nation Online.