Sep 24, 2017 Last Updated 10:33 AM, Sep 22, 2017


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The football fraternity in Malawi is eagerly waiting for the country’s football association (FAM) to discipline Nyasa Big Bullets following unsporting acts by the club’s supporters on 9 September.

Benson Haji, 43, Gauti Phiri, 32, Gift Nazombe, 29, Godfrey Kumwembe and MacDonald Suwali were arrested by the Malawi Police Service after Bullets’ match against Be Forward Wanderers in the capital, Lilongwe.

The five men will appear before the court of law for malicious damage and unlawful wounding offences.

The incident took place outside the northern gate of the Bingu National Stadium as Wanderers' Bus was exiting the sports arena after the team's loss to Big Bullets in the Carlsberg Cup final.     

Apparently, as they were exiting BNS, the Wanderers found Bullets supporters chanting mocking songs and banging the bus.

In anger, Wanderers’ players apprehended one Big Bullets fan and dragged him into their bus. Chaos flared as other Bullets’ supporters charged by showering the bus with stones.  Five people from Wanderers side were injured and six side glasses of the motor vehicle were damaged.

Ironically, Wanderers won the vehicle after beating their Blantyre city sworn rivals Big Bullets in the Luso TV Bus Ipite Bonanza.

The alleged Bullets supporters attacked Wanderers players despite their team winning the 2017 Carlsberg Cup 5-3 on post penalties match. 

Bullets came from behind twice to force the game to go straight into penalties after settling for a 2-all in regulation time.

Wanderers were on the verge of retaining the trophy when Jaffalie Chande scored on 20th minute before Bullets’ Muhammad Sulumba grabbed an equalizer a few minutes later. Isaac Kaliati scored Wanderers' second goal four minutes into the second half. Bullets were awarded a penalty after Rafiq Namwera handled the ball in the penalty box. Nelson Kangunje scored that penalty. 

In the penalty-shoot-out, Yamikani Chester's spot kick misfired giving Bullets an advantage in the process. Bullets scored all their spot kicks through Chiukepo Msowoya, Kangunje, Mussa Manyenje, Henry Kabichi and Pilirani Zonda. While Wanderers scored through Namwera, Chande and Precious Sambani. Just like I mentioned earlier Chester missed Wanderer's fourth penalty.

Bullets’ win gave Elia Kananji his fourth Carlsberg trophy, the country’s FA Cup, making him the only coach to win the tournament four successive seasons with two teams that happen to be based in the same city, Blantyre.

Kananji first won the cup in 2014 as coach of Big Bullets. A year later, he achieved the same feat with Wanderers before the Lali Lubani boys defended the trophy in 2016.  This season, Wanderers failed to defend the cup making them joint two-time record holders with Bullets.

During post match interviews Bullets’ manager James Chilapondwa thanked heavens for the win while his counterpart Steve Madeira said Wanderers will now focus on winning the Super League.

Bullets won a prize money of MK12 million while their rivals have been given a consolation cash prize of MK5 million.

The match grossed over MK54 million with both sides sharing MK10.5 million each.

Carlsberg Cup 2017: FAM Orders Officiating Personnel To Be Professionalism

The Football Association of Malawi (FAM) is calling on the officiating personnel in Saturday’s Carlsberg Cup final to be professional by observing all the rules of the game.  Demand

The two teams meeting in the final are Be Forward Wanderers and Nyasa Big Bullets and the match will be played at the Bingu National Stadium in the capital city Lilongwe where the winning team will walk away with MK15 million. 

The Association’s Transfer Matching System Manager Casper Jangale said he was hopeful that the match will be violence free.

He is also calling on football fans to respect the decisions of the referees during the game.

Fans and administrators have been raising concerns over poor officiating in most matches and some referees have been disciplined on the same.

FAM has also announced that it will not sell tickets for the game on the actual day to ensure that there is smooth entry into the stadium.

Apart from that, this will also ensure that no fake tickets are sold on the day of the match.

It is anticipated that gates will be opened at nine in the morning.

The Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) is coming under scrutiny from football fans and pundits for not taking interest in investigating alleged corrupt practices in the game locally.

This is despite the fact that corruption levels are reaching endemic levels in Malawi judging by the Cashgate scandal and the ever-growing list of many such cases, trials and convictions of the same.

The fans and pundits insist that not much has the ACB done despite reports coming out in the public alleging the involvement of some people in the malpractice.

The Northern Region Referees Committee has suspended top Referee Aziz Nyirenda for two months because of match fixing.

He received MK15 000 from Nchalo United officials ahead of their team’s encounter with Chitipa United in a Carlsberg Cup game.

The case of Referee Nyirenda could be one of many such acts happening behind the scenes in the sports set up in Malawi, football in particular.

In the past, referees have also faced disciplinary action over their conduct in some of the games they have officiated that have triggered hooliganism at times.

In fact, in November last year, Azizi Nyirenda was also suspended for two months by the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) Referees Sub-Committe for his failure to award a clear penalty to Mafco, who eventually walked off the pitch.

According to FAM, Nyirenda did not justify why he disallowed the clear penalty leading to a brawl that also saw journalists being beaten up. 

During the same period, the committee also suspended top referees Patrick Ngoleka and Dennis Nguluwe for suspicious handling of both Super league and Carlsberg Cup matches. 

While these suspensions could be as a result of gross incompetence by the referees, the question of match fixing cannot be ruled out judging by the latest Nyirenda/Nchalo United development. 

It appears, it’s not only the referees involved as last year General Secretary of Nyasa Big Bullets then Kelvin Moyo was suspended and ultimately fired from his position after he alleged that some Trustees of the club were involved in match fixing.

Rotten Apples?

Looking at the case of Nyirenda who is currently on a two month suspension, should Malawians be questioning results of games developments of this nature?

It is obvious high time different sports disciplines in the country were audited, monitored and taken to task.

Many administrators and club officials seem to have turned it into a haven of corruption; theft and massive plunder of resources while in most cases players, who are the biggest stakeholders, continue to be beggars.

It’s my hope that proper action by trusted and credible organisations such as the ACB to rid the game of football of all the rotten apples.

The level of football officiating in the country is expected to improve following a week long Fifa Elite training course for match assessors and referees

The course which is taking place at the Mpira Village Village in  Blantyre  is being facilitated by Jerome Damon from South African.

Football Association of Malawi Referees Development Officer Maxwell Mtonga hailed FIFA for the training which he said will help to re energise  the top officiating personnel in the country.

“The course give us ammunition to grow the game. We cannot grow the game if our referees are not up-to-date with changes in the modern game in as afar as new trends and rules in referring and assessing are concerned, “said Mtonga

In his remarks, Damon said he was impressed with the enthusiasm and commitment of the participants.

“Iam very much happy with the number of attendants of assessors and surely when you go back you will improve the level of offociation,” said Damon

Confederation of African Football (CAF) executive committee will meet Thursday to ratify changes agreed at its symposium held earlier in the week that include  increase the number of teams at Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) from 16 to 24 as well as the timing of the tournament from January to June or July.

The proposals were made on Tuesday during a two-day CAF symposium on the continental game’s future in Rabat, Morocco.

Football Association of Malawi (FAM) has since hailed the changes, saying they are favourable.

“The proposal [to increase the teams] is very favourable as it gives more nations, Malawi included, a chance of qualifying.

“This will maximise the return on investment that governments and sponsors are making on national teams. It is value addition to sponsors as they want to benefit from investing in the national team,” said FAM president Walter Nyamilandu who attended the symposium alongside general secretary Alfred Gunda and Flames coach Ronny van Geneugden.

Once the proposal to change the tournament’s timing are ratified, Africa will align with the format of the Fifa World Cup and Euro Championship and will comprise six groups of four teams each.

The Nations Cup’s timing in January and February has long angered clubs in Europe, where many Africans play.

“That is the first thing to talk about—we can’t get away from it,” said CAF president Ahmad Ahmad.

“We have already had a lot of suggestions,” he added in his opening address.

An unprecedented number of players turned down call-ups for this year’s tournament in Gabon to stay with their clubs.

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