With the top-flight TNM Super League heading towards the end, 12 teams still face relegation.
Apart from the top four teams—Nyasa Big Bullets, Silver Strikers, Be Forward Wanderers and Civil Sporting Club—the others are not in the comfort zone.
So tight is the league that only five points separate fifth-placed Kamuzu Barracks (35 points) and 14th-placed TN Stars (30 points), who have two games in hand.
So far, only table anchors Nchalo United—who returned to the Super League after 10 years in the second-tier league—have had their fate confirmed.
Apart from Nchalo, rookies TN Stars—who had a good start to their debut season in the Super League—and Malawi Defence Force (MDF) side Mafco FC complete the bottom three set.
TN stars coach Meke Mwase has attributed his team’s plunge to injuries and financial problems, but is optimistic they will fight for their survival.
“Most of the players are playing in the Super League for the first time and when the going gets tough it is not easy to cope, but we will fight on. There are still a couple of games to play,” he said.
On the other hand, Mafco head coach Tione Mhone could not figure out why his team is struggling, but expressed hope that they will pull through and escape the murky waters of relegation.
Red Lions is the other MDF team that is not far off from the relegation zone.
The Zomba-based soldiers lie 12th in the 16-team league with 31 points from 27 matches.
Football analyst George Kaudza Masina said the gap between the fifth and 12th-placed teams speaks volumes about lack of competition.
“The biggest problem is that there is no consistency. You will find that a team performs well today and is hopeless the nextday.
“The real competition is only among the top three or four teams,” he said.
On the struggles of the army teams, Kaudza Masina blamed it on the frequent change of coaches and assigning players topeacekeeping missions abroad.
“As for the newly-promoted teams, there is lack of proper preparations because the regional leagues end late coupled with financial challenges. They hardly beef up their teams ahead of top-flight football,” he said.
Meanwhile Bullets could move within touching distance to the title should they beat TN Stars whom they host this afternoon at Kamuzu Stadium while reigning champions Be Forward Wanderers have a tricky fixture against Karonga United at Karonga Stadium.