Logistical problems have the 2013/14 TNM Super League season getting a low-key start from today with a menu comprising nine games spread across Malawi.
Off the pitch, the Super League of Malawi announced during the week the official relaunch will have to wait as they sort out new kit purchase, among others. On the pitch, there are more questions.
Minus 11 players who have crossed borders to Mozambique in search for greener pastures, it remains to be seen if this season will sustain its appeal which stars such as Joseph Kamwendo, Vincent Chinthenga and Jimmy Chikulekule injected last campaign.
Also lost to Mozambique are Chiukepo Msowoya, Gerald Chimbaka, Innocent Bokosi, Innocent Jere, Foster Namwela, Moses Chavula and Rafiq Musa. Gerald Phiri junior has moved to Zimbabwe’s Caps United.
The exodus could disadvantage teams such as exciting Blantyre United and Mighty Wanderers who have lost the most six, including defence pillar Foster Namwela. New arrivals at the Lali Lubani Road include experienced Kondwani Lufeyo, Jacob Ngwira and Benard Harawa.
United and the Nomads get their campaigns underway against Epac today (Saturday) and Big Bulllets tomorrow [Sunday] respectively at the Kamuzu Stadium. United administrator Lawson Nakoma painted a bright picture.
“We have two players competing for each position. There is a replacement for Chikulekule. Having finished third last season, we obviously are aiming higher,” Nakoma insisted. Bullets have jealously guarded their assets such as Gabadhino Mhango whose pre-season form, that has produced the GOtv and Orange Partners trophies, suggest the best is yet to come from the little predator.
Holders, Silver Strikers, who face Civo United tomorrow, too seem to have failed to hold on to Harvey Nkacha and Mustafa Salimu now reportedly at Kamuzu Barracks. Dave Banda is also with the Army side suggesting that they could come out stronger this season.
Teams will also be anxious to learn if referees have stepped their act in view of last season’s perceived incompetence but some few whistle men.
During the week, the National Referees Committee general secretary Chris Kalichero insisted that their men are always ready, adding “our men train every week across the regions. There is no off-season for us.”