TNM Super League players endured tough times in the third week of the season as they turned pitches into war zones last weekend, with five players sustaining various degrees of injuries.
This has prompted Super League of Malawi (Sulom) to warn players that perpetrators deliberate acts that result in injuries will be severely punished. Of the five injuries, two were serious while three were minor.
The worst was witnessed during the match between Ekwendeni Hammers and Mafco, which ended 1-1 at Mzuzu Stadium on Sunday.
Hammers player Zikani Kasambala sustained a deep cut on his cheek and had a swollen left eye after a duel with a Mafco player in the first half.
So serious was Kasambala’s injury that he was rushed to Mzuzu Central Hospital for urgent treatment. He has since been ruled out of action for four weeks.
Studs also flew in all directions during Tigers 0-1 loss to Blue Eagles at Chiwembe Stadium in Blantyre on Saturday, with Eagles defender Ganizani James being rushed to Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital after picking a serious injury.
Eagles went on to lose defender Steve Chagoma the following day during the game against Ntopwa as he limped off in the first half.
Another war zone was at Silver Stadium on Sunday during Silver Strikers’ 5-1 win over Kamuzu Barracks where the Central Bankers’ Chisomo Mpachika and Chikondi Kamanga were forced to leave the field of play after sustaining injuries.
Sulom General Secretary Williams Banda said they had received complaints from clubs about deliberate rough play from some players.
Banda said they had launched investigations into the complaints.
“We have taken note of the injuries and we will take action where necessary. Some of our clubs have lodged complaints and we are investigating. We are doing our part and we will come up with a statement in due course,” he said.
He said Sulom has since written to the National Referees Association, urging punitive measures on all players who deliberately inflict injury on others.
“Of course there are differences in fitness levels as players spent months without kicking the ball because of the Covid-19 sports suspension. However, we expect sportsmanship and fair play in all our games. This should be the order of the day. Our referees should apply all the 11 laws of the game.
“Clubs should also ensure that their players are physically fit at all times. We urge referees to take action by punishing players who are deliberately inflicting injury on their opponents. We have since issued a stern warning to them that we will not tolerate this,” Banda said.
Hammers Coach Etson Kadenge Mwafulirwa said it was unfortunate that one of his top strikers would be out of action for a month just three weeks into the new season.
“Anyone watching our game would testify that Mafco came to Mzuzu for war. They did not come to play football. It is sad that I will not have my player’s services due to rough play by Mafco players. I urge Mafco to improve their approach to football. This is football, which must be played in a fair manner.
“It was heartbreaking to see Kasambala lying in the dressing room with cuts on his face. He lost a lot of blood and was in great pain. The injury affected our players and they refused to return to the pitch after half time. They only returned after I warned them about the consequences of causing abandonment of the match,” Mwafulirwa said.
Mafco Coach Temwa Msuku said it was unfortunate that Kasambala had picked the serious injury after a duel with one of his players.
“My player had no intention to injure him. However, I will sit down with all my players and encourage them to adhere to fair play rules.
“We as Mafco, were also shocked to learn that Kasambala was seriously injured. We are a club that does not promote deliberate acts aimed at causing injury. We believe in entertaining football and we will maintain that,” Msuku said.
Meanwhile, Eagles have disclosed that James will miss action for the next four weeks.
The policemen’s chairperson, Alexander Ngwala said the player was in a Plaster of Palace and was expected to go for scanning yesterday.
“To make matters worse, Chagoma might not be available on Sunday as we will be facing Karonga United at home. This means we have a big gap in defence. Those are the setbacks we have suffered because of injuries sustained last weekend,” Ngwala said.
Silver Chief Executive Officer Thokozani Chambali indicated that they would miss Mpachika for the next two weeks as he had a mild headache.
“Our understanding is that players from military teams are fit all the time but rules of the game do not change. Match officials should just ensure that sportsmanship and fair play are observed during all games.
“We will miss Mpachika’s services this weekend as he remains injured. Kamanga’s availability will be known after an assessment. We believe his was not a serious injury,” Chimbali said.