Clubs blame Sulom on league resumption
Some Super League clubs have expressed concern that there is no ample time for off-season break after Super League of Malawi (Sulom) announced that the 2022 season will kick off on February 26.
The development has irked some clubs, who want adequate time to rest and prepare as the 2021 season ended two months ago.
TNM Super League defending champions Nyasa Big Bullets, Mighty Wanderers and Blue Eagles said they were keen to negotiate with Sulom to extend the starting date.
Bullets, who have won the league for a record 15th time, said it would be tough for players and coaches.
“To begin with, we must admit this is a very unusual start of the season. No ample time for other teams that were still playing football until mid- December 2021 to get fully set for the new season,” said Bullets Administration Officer Albert Chigoga.
“Additionally, some players are at the Afcon finals and will probably join their teams end January 2022. This being said, it is really tough for the coaches and players,” he added.
The 2021 football season was officially closed on December 20 as Bullets beat Silver Strikers 5-3 on post-match penalties to win the Airtel Top 8 Cup for the first time.
However, the curtain on the 2021 TNM Super League season came down in October as Bullets were also crowned champions with 62 points, four points above second-placed Silver.
Wanderers spokesperson Ernest Maganga shared Chigoga’s sentiments.
“The players need enough time to rest. In addition, Sulom just came up with the date without proper consultation. We are not happy with the kick-off date,” Maganga said.
Eagles Chairperson Alexander Ngwala said it was like an ambush.
“Sulom should have communicated to us after the end of the season. There are a lot of things needed before the start of the season,” he said.
However, Silver Chief Executive Officer Thokozani Chimbali said the Bankers would be ready to start the season any time.
“We have no problem with the kick-off date. We just need to prepare well and make sure we fight for the title this season,” Chimbali, whose side had already signed two players ahead of the new season, said.
Between now and February, 16 Super League are expected to purchase their own kits after sponsors, TNM, withdrew kit sponsorship ahead of the new season.
In a statement released on Saturday, Sulom said the league will resume with strict adherence to Covid preventive guidelines.
Sulom also said, before the start of the season, all clubs will be required to pay their affiliation fees, get licenced and pay all outstanding dues to Sulom.
“The Super League of Malawi therefore wishes to remind clubs and match officials to mask up, wash hands, sanitise and social distance,” the statement reads.
Sulom also asked the clubs to provide two venues for inspection. Each team is also required to register two colours (home and away) before January 20.
The clubs endured a weird, winding and long season in 2021 due to the Covid pandemic. For the better part of the season, football was played behind closed doors.
In addition, there were some stoppages following a surge in Covid cases.