BY MABVUTO KAMBUWE:
Lilongwe will host two big matches on Saturday as Malawi under-20 national football team welcomes South Africa’s Amajita at Bingu National Stadium (BNS) whereas Silver Strikers entertain Nyasa Big Bullets at Silver Stadium on the same day.
The junior Flames will play against Amajita in the second-leg match of the final qualifying round of the Africa Cup of Nations at BNS. It is a make or break encounter for the junior Flames as they seek to qualify for the 2019 Niger finals.
On the other hand, the match involving Silver and Bullets could decide the TNM Super League first-round winner. Silver lead the log table with 30 points from 13 games, two points ahead of second-placed Bullets.
But Football Association of Malawi (Fam) General Secretary, Alfred Gunda, yesterday claimed that they were discussing with Super League of Malawi (Sulom) over the clash of the games.
“We started discussions but we have not reached a conclusion on the matter. We will see the way forward within the week,” Gunda said.
Sulom General Secretary, Williams Banda, said he was surprised by the suggestion to reschedule the league game.
“Bingu and Silver stadiums are different venues. The games are not clashing but they will be played on the same day in Lilongwe,” Banda said.
Silver General Secretary, Thabo Chakaka-Nyirenda, said Fam knew about the 2018 football calendar and they should not bring unnecessary confusion to the league fixture.
“If Fam is suggesting that the game should be rescheduled, then it is wrong. Fam released the calendar and knew the programme for the whole season. Fam does not listen to us as clubs so why should we listen to them?” Chakaka-Nyirenda said.
Bullets Chief Executive Officer, Fleetwood Haiya, said the under-20 game should not be used as a fundraiser.
“The TNM Super League is the top-flight league in Malawi and it cannot be affected by the activities of the under-20 which is a development team. Games involving development teams should not be used as fundraisers; afterall, we are playing at different grounds. In other countries, such games are played at small grounds,” Haiya said.
Bullets and Silver are crowd pullers on the local scene alongside Be Forward Wanderers.
On the other hand, the junior Flames need home support after playing out to a 0-0 draw in South Africa on Sunday.
A game involving domestic clubs can only be cancelled if they contribute three or more players to a national team.
Bullets will also play against Mafco FC at Kasungu Ground on Sunday. Mafco host Moyale Barracks at Kasungu Stadium on Saturday.