Nchalo United have been crowned champions of Masters Security Southern Region Football Association’s (SRFA) Premier League following their 2-0 bonus triumph over Mangochi United, who did not turn up for the encounter at Kalulu Stadium on Sunday.
This means Nchalo have earned TNM Super League promotion with four games to spare as they are at the summit of the 21-team log table with 88 points from 36 games; 16 points ahead of second-placed and fellow Lower Shire outfit Chikwawa United, whose maximum points are 87.
For Nchalo, it was just a matter of waiting for the referee to blow the final whistle before they could receive the trophy from SRFA chairperson Raphael Humba, who was accompanied by Masters Security regional manager for the South Kondwani Mitepa and Football Association of Malawi (FAM) technical director John Kaputa, as Mangochi United were nowhere to be seen.
“We have been eagerly waiting for this moment and we are happy to have finally clinched the title with some games to play,” said Nchalo coach Mabvuto Lungu.
The club’s chairperson Peter Chiipanthenga said they are ready for their return to the elite league after a decade of playing in the second-tier league and they will beef up the squad to be strong enough to survive relegation.
He also attributed the success to financial backing from Illovo Sugar (Malawi) plc and hope the support will continue.
While congratulating Nchalo for taking the glory and advising them to make the region proud by making sure they survive the chop, Humba bemoaned some teams’ tendency of failing to fulfil their away fixtures.
“It is very unfortunate that Mangochi did not turn up for the match. The reason they gave about the theft of their vehicle battery was not convincing. This is a lame excuse and from next season, we will introduce harsh penalties for such teams,” he said.
Mitepa, whose company remains with one year of their three-year sponsorship, said they would discuss whether to increase the annual package from K10.5 million.
In the Chipiku Central Region Football Association (SRFA) Premier League, Holy Cross Ambassadors beat Support Battalion 3-0 on Sunday to reclaim the top spot. They have displaced TN Stars, who lost 0-2 to Airborne Rangers. The two sides are tied on 61 points from 31 games apiece but Ambassadors have a better goal difference of two.