There is controversy over alleged match-fixing in the Southern Region Women Football Association (SRWFA) League decider following Ntopwa Super Queens’ record 43-0 win over Chikwawa Queens which saw them snatch the title from Blantyre Zero.
Before the game, Zero topped the log-table by a 10-goal difference after tying on 27 points with Ntopwa. However, after the result, Ntopwa turned the tables.
The 43-goal deluge victory has sparked controversy with Chikwawa’s coach and owner Arnold Mwatha lodging a complaint with the Football Association of Malawi (FAM), claiming that he did not send a team to play against Ntopwa, but he was surprised to learn that they had lost by a cricket score-line.
He accused Ntopwa of match-fixing and wondered how his team could lose by such a margin when they lost only 2-0 in the first round.
“Due to financial constraints, I informed my players and other stakeholders that we would not fulfil the away fixture, but I was surprised to hear that the game was on,” reads part of the letter dated November 4 2018 and copied to National Women Football Association (NWFA) and SRWFA .
And in an interview, Mwatha said: “I, therefore, write to know which players were used and which mode of transport was used. In addition, I wonder who would have been be responsible if anything bad [accident] had happened to the players and who coached the team. I do not accept the results of the game because I suspect something fishy happened.”
This means that had the game failed to take place, Ntopwa could have finished as runners-up to Zero, who beat YCD Sisters 21-0 in their last game on the same day, because a team gets 2-0 bonus victory if their opponents fail to turn up.
Surprisingly, Chikwawa’s captain Elina Nhlane contradicted Mwatha in an interview, saying he instructed them to honour the fixture since most of the players are based in Blantyre.
“To say the truth, we played the match because our coach had been telling us the whole week to be at the venue on time. He stays in Chikwawa but at least 15 of us [players] reside in Blantyre. We played the match, but we lost because we had a makeshift goalkeeper after our key goal-minder failed to turn up due to an injury,” she said.
On his part, Ntopwa owner Isaac ‘Jomo’ Osman yesterday accused Mwatha of conniving with Zero to frustrate their effort of fighting for the title by deliberately plotting to boycott the match.
“The Chikwawa coach might have pocketed something from Zero to frustrate our title campaign because they knew that we would automatically miss the title if they could not show up. But thank God, their players were available at the venue and we managed to beat them accordingly,” he said.
But Zero team manager Violet Nyang’ama said she was surprised that Ntopwa is dragging her team into match-fixing allegations.
“It is sad that Ntopwa have the audacity to drag us into this mud. We have never been involved in match-fixing and we cannot do that. We know Chikwawa is one of the team’s that has not conceded more than 10 goals in a game throughout the league and they might have a good reason to accuse Ntopwa of match-fixing,” she said.
Meanwhile, SRWFA disciplinary committee chairperson Kingsley Simbeye yesterday said they have planned to launch a match-fixing investigation into the matter.