* Safety and security of match venues to be enhanced
By Duncan Mlanjira
TNM Super League matches will proceed as per released fixtures but with strict adherence to the COVID-19 preventive measures and include barring spectators from attending for two weeks beginning Wednesday, December 23.
This is according to a statement from Super League of Malawi (SULOM) and stresses that club, match officials and journalists must mask up, wash hands, sanitizer and observe social distance.
Supporters have been assured that they shall be able to follow the games live through TV broadcasts and that it is a misconduct for them to be found around stadium premises.
Those found loitering around stadium premises without accreditation of responsibility shall be arrested by law enforcers.
The directive follows the increase in the number of new COVID-19 cases — up from 30 on the December 11 to 210 as of Tuesday.
The country registered 46 new cases on Tuesday from 389 tests of which four were new recoveries, and no new deaths.
Of the new cases, 17 are locally transmitted — 14 from Blantyre, three from Lilongwe while 29 are imported infections.
The Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 has, therefore, resolved to close all land borders for two weeks, also starting from December 23 except for essential goods transportation, deportees and those in special circumstances.
Tuesday’s situation report from the task force’s co-chairperson, Dr. John Phuka also says Malawians and residents can return to Malawi upon production of an original certified valid COVID-19 negative test result.
And that Malawians and residents can travel out but all foreigners will not be allowed in through land borders.
The resolution also says all essential service providers should get clearance from the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 and that only gatherings a minimum of 100 people will be allowed during the 14 days.
The gatherings include weddings, music shows, sports, arts, hotels, ceremony gardens or parks and religious and all must wear face masks.
Dr. Phuka says this increase in new cases of locally transmitted and imported infections is very shocking.
“As if this is not enough, we hear there is a new strain of this virus that has emerged and that spreads extremely fast,” he said. “Unfortunately for us, this is happening during festive season when celebrations may spread the disease extremely fast through gatherings.
On Monday, Dr. Phuka had urged the public to regard everyone they meet as a potential carrier of the disease because out of 10 people infected with coronavirus, nine will not feel sick at all.
“We have also observed that some are confirmed COVID-19 positive when they get tested for travel and this confirms that there are undetected cases in our community.
“It is important that all people who are infected are identified by testing, be isolated, and depending on the severity of their disease, they receive appropriate medical care.
“Those confirmed to have COVID-19 but who do not have symptoms, should be isolated to limit their contact with others,” he said.
Going into December, new cases that were being registered were minimal and COVID-19 related deaths remained stagnant.
But on December 8, there was one new death, no new cases and the were at 38.
Then the new cases started rising — 8 on December 12, 3 the next day, 4 on 14th, 10 on 15th, 11 on 16th, 47 on 17th, 10 on 18th, 5 on Saturday the 19th, 8 on Sunday, 41 on Monday and 46 on Tuesday — bringing the active case to 210.
Meanwhile, the TNM Super League fixtures for the weekend are:
Saturday December 26
* Nyasa Big Bullets v Moyale @ Kamuzu Stadium
* Civil Service FC v Kamuzu Barracks @ Civo Stadium
* Ntopwa FC v MAFCO FC @ Chiwembe
* Mzuzu Warriors FC v Silver Strikers @ Mzuzu Stadium
* Karonga United v Red Lions @ Karonga Stadium
Sunday December 27
* TN Stars v Blue Eagles @ Kasungu Stadium
* Be Forward Wanderers v MAFCO FC @ Kamuzu Stadium
* Ekwendeni Hammers v Silver Strikers @ Mzuzu Stadium
* Tigers FC v Moyale @ Chiwembe
Red Lions FC have come back into the top flight TNM Super League with a mission to claim back their lost glory that saw them relegated last year as they have claimed 11 points from five games they have played so far.
They have won three games, drew two in which they have scored eight goals and conceded 5.
In their game against TNM Super League champions, Nyasa Big Bullets at Kamuzu Stadium a week before, they came from a goal down but managed to lead 3-1 by half time on a water-logged Kamuzu Stadium.
Bullets then came into the second half to score two more goals and force a 3-3 draw. This was after some volunteers had cleared some of the water from the pitch at half time.
Last Saturday, Red Lions beat Chitipa United 1-0 courtesy of a goal from Henry Kamunga to garner the 11 points and lead by two points on the log table.
Coming hot on their heels are Ntopwa FC, who are also a surprise package when they beat Chitipa United 5-2 with goals from Kondwani Saizi, Hendricks Misinde and a hat-trick from Potipher Likoswe.
They are second with nine points from four games in which they have won three and lost one and Ntopwa are the top scorers with 13 goals and conceded five.
Potipher Likoswe joins two other hat-trick scorers — Royal Bokosi of Red Lions and Ekwendeni Hammers’ Clever Kaira, who is also the current top scorer with five goals to his name.
On third, fourth and 5th positions all with seven points but separated by goal difference are Silver Strikers, MAFCO FC and Civil Service respectively.
Mighty Be Forward Wanderers are 6th with six points from four games of one win and three daws while the champions Bullets are 8th with five points from four games of one win two draws and one loss.
Anchoring the table are on 13th position are Tigers FC (three points); Moyale (5th with one point) and Chitipa United, 16th also with one point.
Moyale and Chitipa United are yet to register a win while Red Lions, Mafco, Be Forward Wanderers and Civil Service are yet to lose a match.
Ntopwa, Tigers and T N Stars have either won or lost their matches (no draws).