Sulom snubs Nomads over venue
Super League of Malawi (Sulom) has shrugged off Be Forward Wanderers’ demand that their Saturday TNM Super League second-round game against Chitipa United be shifted from Karonga Stadium to Mzuzu Stadium.
Sulom General Secretary, Williams Banda, Wednesday said they were not shaken by the Nomads’ threats that they would report the matter to Football Association of Malawi (Fam) and world football authority, Fifa.
“They should not use Fifa as a threat. Wanderers can as well ask Fifa to offer them an aeroplane and fly to Karonga. Afterall, there is an aerodrome in Karonga,” Banda said.
He was responding to a letter which Wanderers General Secretary, Mike Butao, wrote to Sulom with a copy to Fam, asking for the shifting of the game.
“It is not practical asking us to travel almost 900 kilometres to play on Saturday and then travel another 250 to 300 kilometres on Sunday to play Moyale in Mzuzu without resting.
“That is like asking a club to play a game in Blantyre on Saturday and another game in Lilongwe the following day. Whenever we travel for away games, we allow for a one-day rest before a game. We cannot travel 300 kilometres and go straight into a game. This is unheard of,” Butao said.
He said Wanderers were also subjected to such a punishing schedule two weeks ago by being made to play three games in four days, adding that such closely spaced fixtures were against Fifa rules.
“We are officially requesting for a reversal of this decision from Sulom and we are ready to contest this strange decision even if it means putting our case to Fam, then Fifa and dragging the conclusion of the league indefinitely,” Butao said.
He wondered why Sulom rushed to put the game at the Karonga Stadium before Fam certifies it fit, adding that Masters Security FC also refused to play against Chitipa in Karonga because the stadium is unfit.
“They decided to pass the stadium fit when there was no water connection in the dressing rooms, when the width of the pitch was below standard requirements and an extension of about one foot was recommended and that extension has no grass at all and there are lots of stones around the perimeter of the pitch which could cause loss of lives should violence break out,” Butao claimed.
In reaction, Banda yesterday insisted that Chitipa were even covering a longer distance of one thousand kilometres to play Wanderers in the Southern Region, yet the rookies never asked for a venue-shift.
“From Karonga to Mzuzu, it is 246 kilometres. Dwangwa to Lilongwe it 310 kilometres, yet teams play in Dwangwa on a Saturday and proceed to play in Lilongwe the following day.
“We need to balance up these things. On the condition of the pitch, we used Fifa certified referees’ instructor Popa Mkandawire to inspect the pitch,” Banda said.
Chitipa General Secretary, Marshall Mwenechanya, yesterday gave a measured response to the issue of the venue, saying it was between Sulom and Wanderers.
“However, when fulfilling Super League assignments we cover an even longer distance from Chitipa to Blantyre and even Mulanje, so we do not think our counterparts can use the issue of distance as an excuse. Maybe, they have another reason,” Mwenechanya said.
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