TNM Super League clubs have protested against the Super League of Malawi’s (Sulom) continued release of piecemeal fixtures, saying the arrangement is affecting their planning and logistics.
Sulom on Sunday evening released fixtures for this weekend’s games, but Silver Strikers, Nyasa Big Bullets and Chitipa United feel it could have made planning easier for clubs if the league administrators had released fixtures for the entire first round as has been the case in the past.
Silver general secretary (GS) Thabo Chakaka-Nyirenda said they are having a helter-skelter kind of planning for games because they get to know their next fixtures at the start of each week.
“It was only this morning [yesterday] that we got a fixture for our next league match against Kamuzu Barracks [KB] at Civo Stadium this Sunday and we are not even aware of our next game after this fixture,” he said.
“Normally, we require at least a month to properly plan for a string of games in terms of budgeting. On most of our away games, we are supposed to budget and book for the team’s accommodation in advance. It is not easy to make such arrangements when we get to know our fixtures close to match day.”
Chitipa United GS Marshal Mwenechanya and his Bullets counterpart Albert Chigoga agreed with Nyirenda that they are finding it hard to plan for their league games.
Said Mwenechanya: “Despite knowing that our every game is an away fixture considering that we do not host games in Chitipa, we are caught unawares when we get a fixture about our game in Blantyre with at least five days to go. A lot of things are involved to prepare for such games and we need to be given ample time.”
However, Sulom general secretary Williams Banda said they have the full fixtures for the entire season, but circumstances on the ground, such as the recent Airtel Top 8 games, the closure of three stadiums and national team engagements, have forced them to put its release on hold.
He added that some clubs are yet to pay their affiliation fees for the referees to be paid and have not disclosed venues for their matches.
“It is not like we do not want to release the fixtures but we are looking at the circumstances on the ground. First, we did not know which teams could reach Airtel Cup finals. How could we schedule games for them? Secondly, some stadiums have been closed. And, have they [the teams] told us about venues for their games? Have they paid their affiliation fees?” he said.
“We would like to harmonise these issues together with ours. We also have national team engagements such as [the 2019 African Cup of Nations qualifier against the Comoros] this Saturday and there is Cosafa Cup later this month.”
Banda said if clubs are given fixtures and later find out that their (key) players have been taken on board, they will come to Sulom with complaints. He said things will also be tough with the Carlsberg Cup games on the line.
But Chigoga said it would be better for Sulom to release complete fixtures for the entire season and advise clubs when there are some changes on the schedule.
This Sunday, six games are on the menu. Bullets will host Mzuzu University (Mzuni) FC at Kalulu Stadium in Chikwawa, PremierBet Wizards will be up against Be Forward Wanderers at Mulanje Park and Red Lions will face Azam Tigers at Balaka Stadium.
In other games, Masters Security will battle it out against Mafco at Dedza Stadium, Moyale Barracks will entertain Chitipa at Mzuzu Stadium and Silver will take on KB at Civo Stadium. n