Giants Nyasa Big Bullets and Mighty Wanderers have sharply disagreed with Super League of Malawi’s determination of incidents that led to the abandonment of their Blantyre derby on May 1.
Sulom cracked the whip on the archrivals for the violence that led to the premature end of their match at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.
The two sides have been ordered to pay over K2.1 million in fines for bringing the game into disrepute following the violence that caused the abandonment of their TNM Super League match which ended 1-1.
Wanderers will have to pay slightly over K1.6 million for various offences while Bullets will have to cough K500,000 after one of their supporters invaded the pitch to pour some liquid substance at Wanderers’ goal posts.
Sulom’s press, release signed by Williams Banda and dated May 19 2021, states that a disciplinary meeting held in Blantyre on May 14 found both clubs in the wrong for failing to control their supporters.
The Super League governing body explained that the giants’ failure to control their supporters was contrary to Article 21.9 of its rules and regulations.
The fans were found in the wrong for throwing missiles, bottles or other potentially dangerous objects at the pitch.
Sulom also found Wanderers guilty of direct interruption of normal proceedings of the game contrary to Article 21.2(3) of its rules and regulations.
Nomads’ Stanley Sanudi was also found in the wrong for challenging first assistant referee Bernadetta Kwimbira Nzika to the extent of having physical contact with her. The punishment for the international defender is a two-match ban.
However, both teams have questioned the verdict, with Wanderers Chairperson Chancy Gondwe stating that they will appeal.
“This was a premeditated punishment. The verdict is very wrong. It seems the disciplinary committee deliberately chose to ignore facts of the matter. The problem we have in this country is that Sulom is happy to punish teams even on petty cases as a fund-raising venture. This is wrong.
“The only thing that makes us happy is that the issue of unprofessional referees has been highlighted in the verdict. It is good that there is a recommendation for punishment of the officiating panel,” Gondwe said.
He expressed hope that the match officials would be banned for life to deter others from committing the same offences.
“We have been punished because of their incessant love for money. We believe they will get what they deserve. That officiating crew is an enemy of the game. We will keep monitoring what authorities will do to them.
“Lastly, we feel the punishment is very harsh on our part as the disciplinary committee never took into account the mitigating circumstances that were there. We will appeal the verdict and see if it can be overturned. We will also look at a possible reduction of the fine,” Gondwe said.
Bullets Chief Administration Officer Albert Chigoga described the verdict as unfortunate.
“We will surely respond accordingly as a club. It’s unfortunate that Sulom decided to punish our club yet we vehemently contested that, by any identification, the pitch invader was not our supporter. Moreover, the pitch invasion was a result of failure by security personnel to prevent such an incident,” Chigoga said.
The verdict also highlighted that there was mismanagement of the game by the officiating personnel including continuation of the game while coincidentally disciplining the players. We recommend to the National Referees Committee [NRC] to discipline the referee(s) involved.
“In addition, the committee observed that the 1st Assistant Referee had a verbal exchange with the officials/player. The NRC needs to review this and assess if the game officiation met the required standards. We also request the NRA to discipline the referees,” reads part of the verdict.
NRC General Secretary Chris Kalichero said they would look into the matter.
“We will analyse the recommendations once we receive the verdict. We will then come up with our own determination on the matter,” Kalichero said.
The verdict also maintained that the result of the match would remain 1-1 because at 75 minutes, it was considered to have matured.
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.