Former Flames coach Ernest Mtawali has sued Football Association of Malawi (FAM) alongside its vice-president and technical sub-committee chairperson James Mwenda for defamation.
Mwenda and FAM are first and second defendants respectively.
According to the summons filed to the High Court in Blantyre through lawyers Ritz Attorneys at Law, which The Nation has seen, Mtawali is claiming general and special damages for libel and slander.
It says on or around June 27 2016, the first defendant (Mwenda) falsely and maliciously spoke and had published in various newspapers and media representatives and other persons remarks concerning the plaintiff (Mtawali) that:
Reads the claim in part: “…the FAM technical body decided against renewing Mtawali’s contract on the basis that he lacked planning and managerial skills and, to some extent, discipline.”
The document states that the said words, printed and republished on the back page of the issue of The Nation of June 28, 2016 under the heading ‘FAM eyes expatriate’ and in the issue of BBC Sports Magazine of June 30, 2016 titled ‘Malawi sacks coach Ernest Mtawali’, damaged Mtawali’s character and professional reputation as a football coach who has been brought into “public scandal, odium and contempt.”
It further states the article on Zodiak Online also did the damage.
The said article read: “Going through the privy of the report by the technical committee of FAM, it is clear why the national football team is only a shadow of itself with nothing to point as evidence of the slightest achievement…it makes unbelievable revelations of the dirt that happens behind the scenes. The dirt is so filthy that not even the garbage man would lift into his van.
“There are allegations [that] the head coach has been spotted on drinking outings and sharing cigarettes with players while on national duty as recent as the Cosafa Namibia task…The coach is also accused of relating well to other players at the exclusion of others and borrowing money from players, a behaviour that led to fallout with some two players.”
Mtawali claims that the said words in their natural and ordinary meaning meant that he is incompetent and does not have any skills as a football coach, he lacks managerial, leadership qualities and discipline as coach and portrays him as a pauper and a man of no means, who borrows money from players.
Mwenda and FAM are expected to present their defence within 28 days of the issuing of the summon. The case was issued and filed at the High Court on July 26, 2016.
Mtawali could not be reached for his comment yesterday, but his lawyer Lusungu Gondwe confirmed filing the summons.
Mwenda and FAM general secretary Suzgo Nyirenda accepted receipt of the summon documents, but refused to comment.
Mwenda referred the matter to Nyirenda, who had said: “These are court matters and I cannot comment. What I can only say is that we have received the order and we will take it to the appropriate personnel for their perusal.”