COVID-19 COSAFA AfriCAN: FAM starts COVID-19 payouts to football stakeholders

The Football Association of Malawi has stuck to its word and initiated the payment of stipends to 431 Super League players and team officials, totalling to K17.2-million (approximately $24,000).

The payments were made as part of the COVID-19 Relief Fund Initiatives that seeks to assist players and officials financially during the break in play of the domestic league due to the global pandemic.

FAM Competitions and Communications Director Gomezgani Zakazaka, who is also the organisation’s COVID-19 Relief Fund Desk Officer, said the Association is delighted to have fulfilled its pledge to bail out Super League stakeholders.

“We made a commitment to help our players and officials who are struggling financially and we are happy that we have fulfilled our promise. It was so pleasing to see the smiles on the faces of the players as they accessed the money,” Zakazaka said.

“We pledged to pay K40,000 each to 35 individuals per team meaning for the 15 teams, minus Nyasa Big Bullets who are yet to submit their list of beneficiaries, we were supposed to pay 525 beneficiaries. We have paid 431 because the other 94 are not registered on our online stakeholders registration platform, Mpira Connect.

“We set conditions for the teams to fulfill for their players and official to access the fund like registering them with Super League of Malawi and on Mpira Connect. The teams have been notified to do the needful on their remaining players while Nyasa Big Bullets are also finalizing their submission.”

The recipients are grateful for the financial assistance during what is a difficult time for everybody in the game.

“We are grateful to FAM for what they have done, this is not a small gesture. We are thankful to the FAM President Walter Nyamilandu for making this special consideration for us; the players are happy; our families are happy because of this gesture. We will pay our rent on time and even at home, everyone will be happy,” Mighty Tigers captain Christopher Mikuwa said.

“The suspension of the league really hit us players badly because our survival depends on the game being played. And although we had been practicing regularly, we did not give it all our best because you cannot play football on a hungry stomach.”

Be Forward Wanderers and Flames defender Stanley Sanudi added his thanks.
“We have received this project wholeheartedly and we are happy that everyone of us has received their money by now. This money will help us in so many ways and we are thankful to FAM for this cash relief as it will help us to sort out many things.”

Zakazaka added that FAM is now focused on implementing the other relief initiatives that will cover referees, Regional League Teams and Women Football Teams.

“We are going to pay K40,000 to each of the 186 referees who officiate at top level. We are also expected to give food packs to 30 individuals of each of the 62 Regional League Premier divisions teams and 30 individuals of each of the 21 Women’s League teams.

“As a condition to access the relief products all the referees and the Regional and Women’s teams’ players and officials are supposed to be registered on Mpira Connect. We have given them a deadline of Friday June 5, 2020 to finalise the registrations and from next week we expect to give out the packages to only those that will be registered on Connect,” Zakazaka added.

Meanwhile, supporters in all COSAFA nations are urged to follow the advice of the World Health Organisation (WHO) to combat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, 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.