Four top Super League clubs have been fined by Football Association of Malawi (FAM) for rituals related to juju beliefs.
Be Forward Wanderers, Nyasa Big Bullets, Moyale Barracks and Silver Strikers have all been fined for the archaic rituals during Airtel Top 8 matches.
Topping the list are Nomads who have been fined K850 000 for a bizarre ritual undertaken by their fans during the Airtel Top 8 semi-final match against Moyale Barracks at Bingu National Stadium.
Three Wanderers fans jumped over the pitch perimeter fence at half-time and one of them urinated at the goal post in front of over 20 000 spectators.
Despite the presence of stewards and security at the stadium, the fans were not arrested and Wanderers are paying the price for the actions.
“Be Forward Wanderers Football Club failed to take precautionary measures to control their supporters from invading the pitch. During half -time of the above stated match, two [Wanderers] supporters jumped from the stands into the pitch which is contrary to article 24.10 of the 2017 Airtel Top 8 Rules and Regulations. [Wanderers] are sanctioned with a K500 000 fine.
“Wanderers failed to take precautionary measures to control their supporters from tampering with goal posts at half time as the club’s three supporters touched and urinated against the southern goal posts which is contrary to article 24.9 of the 2017 Airtel Top 8 Rules and Regulations. Wanderers are sanctioned with a K300 000.00 fine,” a statement from FAM general secretary (GS) Alfred Gunda reads.
Nomads have also been fined K50 000 for failing to bring their uniform for inspection during pre-match meeting.
But Wanderers and Silver have accused FAM of meting out punishments without hearing them.
Wanderers GS Mike Butao said: “I am just surprised by the inconsistencies. Rules of natural justice require that we be heard before being sentenced. We should not have to pay to be heard. That’s deliberate denial of justice. And, obviously, asking us to appeal before we have been heard requires us to pay an appeal fee.
“I can cite two instances last season where your same committee charged us then gave us a chance to respond before passing judgement.”
Indeed, this is not the first time Wanderers have been involved in such behaviour.
Last year, the Nomads escaped with a warning after pouring pork fat on Mangochi United goalkeeper during a Carlsberg Cup semi-final to purportedly cleanse juju.
Wanderers supporters also poured urine on Mzuzu University (Mzuni) FC team manager Maloto Chaura during a Super League match at Kamuzu Stadium for the same purpose.
Meanwhile, Moyale have also been fined K300 000 for invading the pitch to remove some objects placed on the goal by the three Wanderers supporters.
Silver have been fined K300 000 for juju beliefs as well after refusing to use designated entry points into Civo Stadium.
Bullets have been slapped with a K450 000 fine for denying Silver a chance to train at Mulanje Park on the eve of their Airtel Top 8 quarter-final second leg, for fear that they would ‘spoil’ the pitch with juju.
But analyst Charles Nyirenda blamed football authorities for treating perpetrators of juju with kids’ gloves.
He said: “That is the annoying bit. How can a trespasser who has soiled or fouled a public facility, exposed himself publicly, caused untold damage to the image of the game, behaved in a manner that can cause breach of peace and acted in a way that can spread diseases by urinating on the stadium turf, be allowed to get away scot-free in full view of the police?”
However, FAM competitions manager Gomezgani Zakazaka said the individuals will also be brought to book.n