Capital City giants Silver Strikers have reacted angrily after Super League of Malawi (Sulom) revised its fixture to allow Nyasa Big Bullets to travel to Tanzania for this year’s Cecafa Kagame Cup games.
Initially, Bullets were expected to host Silver at Kamuzu Stadium on Saturday but the game has been brought forward to Friday.
Silver Board Chairperson Victor Madhlopa accused Bullets of using the Cecafa tournament to run away from Super League title race pressure.
“Bullets is using every tactic in the book to win the league. They are running
away from properly arranged fixtures to ensure they have enough time to play their tricks. We are ready to face Bullets even as early as yesterday; so, any day is fine by us,” he said.
Madhlopa also wondered why Sulom changed the fixture when the domestic race was tight.
“Changing fixtures to create space for them to go for friendlies does not make sense at all. We are, however, still going to beat them this Friday and not on Saturday as earlier planned,” he said.
Sources indicated that Football Association of Malawi (Fam) received an invitation from Cecafa on June 17 2021 but did not communicate to Sulom in time.
Officials from both Fam and Sulom did not pick our calls late in the evening Monday.
Earlier on, Sulom General Secretary Williams Banda said they were not blocking Bullets from taking part in Cecafa tournament but said rules had to be respected.
“Fam communicated Friday last week about the development and we asked them through an email about when they got the invitation. We have already dragged this league for so long due to national team assignments as well as the Covid pandemic,” Banda said.
Fam General Secretary Alfred Gunda, speaking earlier, hoped for an amicable solution.
“The issue is currently being handled by Sulom. Once the clearance is made, there will be a chance to make adjustments and also consider fixtures rescheduling,” he said.
Bullets Chief Executive Officer Suzgo Nyirenda said they expected to be exempted from both cup and league games ahead of the Cecafa games.
“We got this invitation through Fam who govern football in this country and we expect the same Fam to do the needful,” Nyirenda said.
However, sports analyst George Kaudza-Masina questioned the Fam handled the issue.
“Much as Bullets’ participation in the Cecafa tournament is important, Fam spoiled everything in the way it has handled this invitation. All international invitations are supposed to come through Fam but it is not under their mandate to clear a team.
“What Chiwembe (Fam) was supposed to have done was to pass on the invite to Sulom. Depending on their calendar, the impetus was on Sulom to clear Bullets to participate and not the way it has happened,” he said.
Kaudza-Masina advised Fam to know its jurisdiction on such matters and avoid being seen to be nice to Bullets at the expense of Silver and the league at large.
“Otherwise Sulom was at liberty not to clear Bullets and, technically, Fam has no powers to decide otherwise,” said the former Fam acting general secretary.
Bullets will take part in the Cecafa Kagame Cup as guests. The competition is slated for August 1 to 15 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
The tournament will attract Young African Sports (Yanga), Azam FC (both from Tanzania), reigning champions Kampala Capital City Authority from Uganda, Uganda Premier League champions Express FC and Kenya champions Tusker.
Atlabara from South Sudan, APR from Rwanda, Burundi champions Massenger Ngozi FC and KMKM SC from Zanzibar have also confirmed their participation in the Cecafa Club Championship.
Meanwhile, the draw for the cup is expected today.
Peter Fote is a Sports Journalist with huge experience in radio and Television reporting, production and presentation. He once worked with Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) and is currently working for Times Media Group.