It does not rain but pours for former Flames goalkeeper Simplex Nthala, who apart from serving a two-year-long ban, is now fighting a lawsuit in Mozambique civil court for assaulting referee Antonio Munguambe.
The Flames goalkeeper and his Mozambican side Maxaquene teammate, Aurthur Muianga popularly known as Zabula, allegedly assaulted referee Munguambe during a Mocambola game against Desportivo de Nacala in July.
Nthala and his defender, Zabula, were outraged by the referee for awarding a goal which the two claimed was scored using a hand.
Although Nthala was banned for two years and fined by the Mozambique Football Association disciplinary committee, the referee has dragged Nthala and his club to court for compensation.
Nthala confirmed in an interview on Thursday that he was fighting on two fronts- the FA’s disciplinary ban and a lawsuit.
“I appeared before the disciplinary hearing which came up with the two-year ban. The club appealed and the ban was indeed slashed to one year,” Nthala said.
“We are still fighting that the ban should be reduced. But in the recent development, I just found out that the case is now in court of law.”
He said the club’s lawyers were also handling the court case.
“I have not yet been summoned to testify in court,” Nthala said.
The former Mighty Wanderers goalkeeper also conceded that he was not conversant with the country’s laws; hence, he was in the dark over the court proceedings.
“At first, I thought the issue would be handled by the Mozambique FA, but what has transpired now is that it is indeed in court. Honestly, I don’t know how it went that far. I am yet to be briefed by the club’s officials,” Nthala said.
The referee was subsequently suspended for three months and finished his sentence last month.
However, Nthala remained optimistic that he would win the case.
“I know I am innocent. I am not worried because justice will now be done,” he said.
Nthala also clarified that he had not yet started playing competitive games.
“The game that I played last week was just a mini tournament,” he said. “I cannot say that I have started playing as such because the case is not over yet.”
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) general secretary Suzgo Nyirenda said he was aware that Nthala was sued by the Mozambican referee.
“I have been following the case. I was informed by the Mozambique FA general secretary about his [Simplex] predicament,” Nyirenda said.
“I am told the referee wants to use the video footage from the television as evidence against Nthala.”
The GS said FAM would wait for the outcome of the case before summoning Nthala to hear his side of the story.
“Right now it’s difficult for us to do anything because the case is in court while Mozambique FA is handling the appeal.” Nyirenda said.
Nthala, who had a clean sheet before the incident, was included in Flames’ squad for July 6 2015 international friendly against Uganda, but failed to report due to club commitments.
He was also set to be called for Malawi’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Zimbabwe, but the Flames coach Ernest Mtawali, changed his mind after learning that he was not playing due to the ban.
Nthala’s alleged action is contrary to a code of conduct FAM put in place in 2013 for all national team players after they misbehaved at the 2013 Cosafa Cup in Zambia.
In the code of conduct, players pledge to behave in a manner that would not put the game of football in disrepute both at their clubs and national team or face disciplinary action if they fail to do so.
Nthala trekked to Mozambican in 2011 to join Liga Muculman. A season later he moved to Vilanculo FC before joining Ferroviario de Nampula in 2013 where he was named Mocambola goalkeeper of the season.
He joined Maxaquene in 2014.