COVID-19 COSAFA AfriCAN: FAM at the forefront of fight against coronavirus pandemic

The Football Association of Malawi (FAM) has been at the forefront of fighting the coronavirus pandemic in the country, providing practical assistance to authorities, such as the offer of the Luwinga Technical Centre Premises in Mzuzu to the Ministry of Health as a quarantine Centre.

While football is on hold in the country, like so many in the region, FAM have been busy making sure the structures in the country are getting the assistance they need.

“FAM had put in place a task force comprising of FAM Executive Committee Members Chimango Munthali, as chairman as well as Felister Dossi, Madalisto Kuyera and FAM GS Alfred Gunda,” President Walter Nyamilandu Manda says.

“The four worked tirelessly over three weeks engaging stakeholders on how the pandemic has affected the local game of Football.

“On behalf of the football fraternity, let me thank the task force for producing a thorough and comprehensive report which formed the agenda of the emergency meeting.”

Nyamilandu went on to explain that during a two-hour session held via video-conference, the first of its kind, the FAM Exco made a number of key decisions in light of the pandemic which has brought the game to a standstill.

These include the use of the Luwinga Technical Centre, the creation of a US$400,000 relief fund to benefit Super League club players and team officials, Women’s Football Regional League Teams and Elite Referees, and the return of club license fees to ease the financial burden on teams.

“However, in the midst of all these interventions, we must not lose sight of the fact that we have a pandemic amidst us and we are not sure when it will vanish. If we are not careful, we may end up losing our precious human capital and football structures,” he said.

“This is why we took a bold decision to forgo special projects which we can always continue working on in future in order to save lives and indeed save the game itself.

“The pandemic has caused unprecedented challenges for the entire football community.

It is the responsibility for all of us to ensure that we follow precautionary measures of preventing the pandemic.”

Nyamilandu also asked fans to do their bit to help stop the sprwad of the virus.

“Let us continue washing hands with soap, avoid touching our faces and practice respiratory hygiene. On top of that, seek medical help if you have fever or cough.

“We shall recover. We shall overcome. And we shall return to the stadiums soon.”

Fans should adhere to the guidelines laid out by the World Health Organisation in the bid to combat the coronavirus outbreak, which include:

Wash your hands frequently: Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.

Maintain social distancing: Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth: Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.

Practice respiratory hygiene: Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately

If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early: Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.