Malawi Defence Force (MDF) teams lead this season’s Super League indiscipline list. Kamuzu Barracks (KB) FC, Mafco FC and Red Lions FC are among five clubs that have accumulated more red and yellow cards, statistics show.
The other teams with a poor discipline record are Mzuzu University (Mzuni) who occupy second position and champions Big Bullets who lie third.
Mafco and Red Lions, according to Super League of Malawi (Sulom), have jointly paid over K4 million (about $6 211) in fines emanating from technical officials and players’ initiated abuses against referees, fouls and misconduct.
Lions were fined K3.6 million (about $5 590) for their players’ misbehaviour during a match against Surestream [now Fisd Wizards] while Mafco were fined K650 000 after their officials and players protest against Be Forward Wanderers goal led to a lengthy stoppage of the match at Kamuzu Stadium.
In individual category, KB midfielder Dave Banda and Mafco’s striker Richard Mbulu have the worst disciplinary record having received three red cards each.
Meanwhile, some of the army teams’ coaches have blamed the situation on poor officiation while football experts have asked the MDF teams to improve on discipline as it is costing them points and resources.
According to Sulom, the top five clubs with worst discipline record, KB leads with 48 cards, Mzuni is second with 41, Bullets is third with 40, Mafco is fourth with 39 while Red Lions is fifth with 39 as well but has accumulated less yellows.
Meanwhile, among these top five clubs, KB also tops in the red cards rankings after accruing eight, Mafco is second with four while Lions comes third with two cards.
Red Lions coach Pritchard Mwansa, delivering his reaction, said much as he admits that his players have been misbehaving, the referees have been officiating their matches poorly.
“In the army, we are trained to be disciplined and we feel bad when our players misbehave. But sometimes if not most times, the referees treat us unfairly because they have this perception that army teams are so physical. To them, any foul deserves a card,” he said.
Mwansa said most of the cards were flashed during their match against Surestream which led into Sulom banning six Lions players for six months while two others were banned for nine months for harassing referee Boniface Chipanga.
The fracas that ensued after the match at Kamuzu Stadium resulted in the death of Godfrey Mwale who was allegedly beaten up by armed MDF soldiers.
The coach also disclosed that the players banned during that match were disciplined by MDF. He refused to specify the action which was taken against the eight players.
Putting in his views, former Bullets captain Peter Mponda, said coaches used to prepare them physically and psychologically when expecting to face MDF sides.
“Army teams’ approach is very physical. Added to that, they intimidate you verbally. When preparing for such teams we used to enhance our fitness levels so as to try to match them,” he said.
Mponda, who is Wizards` technical director, said he did not find anything wrong in the MDF teams’ approach which he described as tactical.
“Sometimes they would threaten that they will beat you if you meet them. But these are just mind games meant to make you lose your concentration. There are many tactics used to win a match and that is theirs and I don’t have any problem with that,” he said.
Renowned football analyst Charles Nyirenda said indiscipline is costly as teams lose resources through fines and also fail to unleash their potential during matches.
“In the case of Kamuzu Barracks, it means that some of their key players missed crucial games after being red carded or accumulating more yellow cards. If you want to achieve good results discipline must be exercised, always,” he said.
After a round of last weekend’s fixtures, all the 15 teams had jointly accumulated 531 cards of which 28 were red cards.
Meanwhile, Sulom general secretary Williams Banda said they are shocked at the figures and pledged to organise trainings to train club officials on how to instil discipline among the players.
He said most of the cards were flashed after the players had verbally abused the referees.
“In most cases when players feel that the referees have made what they view as wrong decisions they verbally attack the officials. This, we believe, can be avoided if the players are well trained on the rules governing the game,” he said. “We believe that the trainings we will organise will help to tame the situation.” n