TNM Super League champions Big Bullets have made a plea to the Super League of Malawi (Sulom) to shift by a week, this Saturday’s 2015 season opener against Silver Strikers at Civo Stadium.
Bullets want the game moved to next weekend due to players’ reported exhaustion, vice-general secretary MacDonald Mwamadi wrote to Sulom treasurer Tiya Somba-Banda on Monday.
“We would like to plead for a waiver on week number one games. This has come about due to our involvement in CAF games and our engagement in games like the GOtv, demise of Douglas Chirambo and the charity match for Chisomo Children’s Club,” Mwamadi wrote on Monday.
However, there are questions as to why the Bullets’ request came when Sulom had already released fixtures. Sulom announced last month that the league would kick off this Saturday.
Still, Mwamadi further pleaded with Sulom that “our players have been travelling a lot and fatigue has taken a toll on them and have not had time to rest. We would like if our fixture is moved to the second week, thus weekend of 25th April.”
Captain Fischer Kondowe agreed with the officials’ observation, noting: “We have played too many games and yet the squad is lean and we do not have luxury of a good diet. That is why it is taking us long to hit form during games.”
In reaction, Sulom general secretary Williams Banda said while the Bullets players have “a genuine concern”, Sulom feels that being the defending champions, they need to hold their patience and fulfill the fixture in Lilongwe. They were well informed that the league shall kick off on April 18.”
Contacted later, Bullets general secretary Harold Fote yesterday seemed resigned to have Sulom listen to such a plea, adding that they were likely to travel as “law- abiding team”.
Bullets left Blantyre last Monday for Rumphi District where the body of Chirambo was buried, before relocating to Mzuzu for a Gotv game against Moyale Barracks then Blue Eagles in Lilongwe on Sunday in a Chisomo Children’s Club fundraiser. The People’s Team lost both games.
Last week, TNM sponsorship and public relations manager Limbani Nsapato was quoted as saying “initially, we had planned that it will take place in Blantyre, but during a meeting we had with Sulom last week, it was agreed that Lilongwe should host the launch”.
Sulom rules and regulations, circulated to all teams, article 16 and 17 stipulate that each club is supposed to name its home ground before the start of a season. Failure to honour a fixture attracts K50 000 fine and forfeiture of points.
“Sulom shall have powers to allocate games at venues or grounds that are safe and secure but playable,” article 16 reads followed by article 17 which states: “Sulom shall compile the fixtures for the season and release them to the clubs indicating the venue and the time the games are to be played.”
Certified fitness and conditioning coach Augustine Banda recently said subjecting players to non-stop football leads to burn-out, adding that players need to go through cycles of off-season involving active rest, pre-season (friendlies) and in-season (actual games). Players cover some eight kilometres on average in a single game.