As the K6 million (US$14 354) Chipiku Central Region Football League (CRFL) Premier League ends this week, the season has been marred by controversies and top among them is so-called “dubious of donation of points by some teams”.
For example, leaders Airborne Rangers who are expected to be crowned champions if they beat Black Stars at Nankhaka today, benefited 15 points from teams which failed to fulfil their fixtures.
Teams which donated points include Mau Mau, Msundwe United, Alinafe Medicals, Dulli Rangers and Dedza Strikers. The five teams cited transport as the main hindrance in their reports to the CRFL fixtures committee.
Weekend Nation findings established that Mau Mau, Msundwe and Dulli Rangers travelled to Dwangwa and Nkhotakota, which are far away from Airborne’s base in Salima.
CRFL chairperson Dini Josaya Banda said next season they will act tough on teams that lose points in dubiously.
“This behaviour lowers competition in the league. Those teams that have been guilty of forfeiting points are being investigated and will be punished. If a team benefits, say 15 points, because some clubs failed to fulfill fixtures, it is not fair to other teams that played them. This has to stop,” said Banda.
He also condemned biased officiation, which he said has been the main cause of violence at matches this season.
“We have received many complaints in regard to officiation and we are also taking a tough stand on that. It does not augur well with the image of our sponsors. We need to stamp out this problem once and for all,” he said.
Weekend Nation also established that Nkhotakota-based Alinafe Medicals travelled to Support Battalion, which is a longer distance in terms of costs than Salima’s Airborne.
“There is so much intimidation when playing Army teams at their homes. Most teams will opt to save transport expenses and donate points. They know that even if they travel there, they would lose the match,” said one Alinafe Medicals official who did not want to be named.
Hardknockers owner Anthony Msukwa, whose team fulfilled fixtures against both Airborne and Support, said wen you play Army teams at their homes, the atmosphere is war-like.
“We have been there. They create an intimadatory atmosphere that makes it difficult for you to play your normal game. Even the referees tend to favour them. But I must confess that Airborne Rangers are a good team,” said Msukwa.
Airborne assistant coach Henry Khembo admitted that his team has benefited 15 points from the five teams, but he said they still deserve to be leaders.
“The thing is that we beat these teams at their homes. So it is not a matter of venue or intimidation. Had they beaten us when we played away, they could have a case, but we won all our games against them,” said Khembo.
Support Battalion, who have also benefited from forfeiture of points, denied intimidating visiting teams.
“It is just the mentality they adopt when they enter the gates of our base. But no violence has ever occurred at our venue. We even provide escort to visiting teams for about 20 kilometres. There is nothing about military when it comes to football. As soldiers, we also have civilian families, so why should we intimidate them? It is just an excuse,” said staff sergeant Edward Kamachawe.