Red Lions and Big Bullets on Tuesday engaged in a heated exchange over referee Fransisco Scovaâ€™s officiation in Sundayâ€™s Fellowship Association of Malawi (Fama) Top Eight semi-final which Bullets won 2-1.
Lions branded Scova a Bullets fan, alleging he was corrupted to deny the Zomba soldiers two first-half Daniel Katungaâ€™s goals, but Bullets challenged the Lions to seek the Anti-Corruption Bureauâ€™s (ACB) intervention.
Lodging a complaint through a letter addressed to National Referees Committee, copied to FAM and Sulom on Monday, Red Lions publicity secretary Major Hilly Magola alleged they were corruptly robbed of and denied [a chance] to qualify into the finals of â€œthe so-called Fellowship bonanzaâ€.
â€œIt seems to us that some fishy and corrupt prior arrangements were made prejudicial to us losing the match. Mr. Skova confessed to one of our senior players that he was under pressure from Bullets fans and officials for whatever reason we do not know. We also have enough evidence that Mr. Skova is a good fan of Big Bullets,â€ Magola wrote.
The Lions called on authorities to punish incompetent referees, saying they were dragging Malawi football backwards by being biased towards big name teams that are spent forces.
But Bullets vice-general secretary Higger Mkandawire and top official Geoffrey Tamutamu on Tuesday called on the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) to discipline the Lions â€œfor tarnishing the otherwise good image of army teams, whose legends such as Wilfred Nyalugwe and Collins Thewe never beat up referees.â€
â€œWe also lodged a complaint over Scovaâ€™s officiation last season and surely such a man cannot be our supporter,â€ said Mkandawire.
Tamutamu claimed the Lionsâ€™ complaint is a mere cover-up for the manhandling of Scova, who suffered a bruised arm and leg.
He received treatment at the Queens Elizabeth Central Hospital on Monday.
â€œIn the letter, they should have also explained how and why they beat up the referee. We, too, were denied two clear goals in recent 2-2 draw with Mighty Wanderers, but we never beat up the referee, let alone, make such wild allegations. Lions must go to ACB and produce evidence,â€ Tamutamu challenged.
Scova yesterday said he found Red Lionsâ€™ allegations â€œvery laughable, baseless and unfoundedâ€.
In a separate interview yesterday, match assessor Charles Kafatiya said he does not believe Scova is a Bullets fan, let alone, that he was incompetent ,â€œbut I do not know where to take my report to as I thought the cup was being played with Super League of Malawiâ€™s blessings.â€
Sulom general secretary Williams Banda said on Monday that Fama did not consult his body. Organisers of the bonanza promised to formalise the process.