By Elizabeth Mandala
Blantyre, April 29, Mana: Malawi football giants, Nyasa Big Bullets and Be Forward Wanderers have termed Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA)’s proposal to allow a team to have five substitutes per match as a very sound move.
FIFA has come up with the proposal as a temporary measure to help players cope with potential fixture congestion in the aftermath of the Coronavirus outbreak.
Nyasa Big Bullets Head Coach, Calisto Pasuwa said if the proposal passes, it will be a welcome development since it would help teams to manage the physical demands of a game in relation to the aspect of a player’s recovery.
“This will work well, particularly here in Malawi where some teams have two fixtures in a space of 24 hours which in itself is not proper for a professional footballer.
“So, five substitutes will save players from not getting burnt out as the season gets to its peak,” said Pasuwa.
The Nomads’ General Secretary, Victor Maunde was also in support of the proposal, saying indeed there will be huge fixture congestion and players will not be given space to recover.
“This will ease the pressure in between fixtures and in so doing, we will be able to complete all the games which, at the end, will ensure a legitimate winner.
“It is our hope that this will be implemented for the safety of players,” Maunde said.
According to Sky Sports website in a statement released on Monday, FIFA said the proposal gives competition organisers the option of letting teams use five substitutes instead of three in 90 minutes and a sixth in knock-out games that go into extra time.
“One concern in this regard is that the higher-than-normal frequency on matches may increase the risk of potential injuries due to a resulting player overload.
“This would also apply to all national team games through December 2021,” reads the statement in part.
However, FIFA’s plans are subject to approval from the International Football Association Board (IFAB) which is responsible for the laws of the game and is already considering the proposal whose decision is expected to be made later this week.
Football games as well as other sporting activities across the world have been at standstill since mid-March, but many leagues and federations are still hoping to complete the season.
However, to successfully do so, they would have to cram fixtures into a shorter period than usual once play resumes.
Malawi suspended football matches, including the TNM Super League of Malawi which was scheduled to kick-off on March 21, 2020 due to the Covid-19 global pandemic. Meanwhile, players are encouraged to train themselves from their homes to keep fit.