Delayed kick-off of the 2017 TNM Super League has for the first time forced Super League of Malawi (Sulom) to run the season without a break.
The 2017 season was supposed to kick off in March and conclude in December.
However, the league kicked off in May after TNM reversed its decision to pull out sponsorship due to contractual disputes following a Competitions and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) ruling.
Sulom general secretary Williams Banda yesterday said there will be no break as they try to ensure the calendar is not disturbed.
He said: “There will be no season break in the 2017 calendar per se because the period we wanted to have the break there will be Carlsberg Cup. We wanted the first round to conclude on August 8, we reserved two weekends for the break, but this will not be possible since during that period there will be Carlsberg Cup semi-finals.”
FAM competitions manager Gomezgani Zakazaka said teams that will be knocked out of Carlsberg Cup will rest.
“So, to an extent those not in Carlsberg semis will have at least a week’s break,” he said.
But clubs have since complained of the arrangement saying clubs and players should not pay the price of others’ incompetence.
Nyasa Big Bullets general secretary Albert Chigoga accused Sulom of making clubs pay for the league managers’ mistake.
He said: “This is not healthy for the players and the clubs are paying for the mishaps of the organisers and nasty football politics. I don’t know how this will bring competitiveness and the excitement in the game of football.”
Be Forward Wanderers vice-chairperson Gift Mkandawire said: “It’s very unfortunate that clubs are on the receiving end of poor management of the organisers. However, as Wanderers we have a deep squad so we should be able to cope with the anomaly. We have to use the entire arsenal we have and fortunately everyone of our players is deadly.”
But PremierBet Wizards owner Peter Mponda noted that Sulom had no choice.
He said having a normal break will eventually prolong the season.
Analyst Charles Nyirenda warned that this puts players at risk.
“Burnout is one of the contributing factors to on field deaths,” he said.
Apart from the league fixtures, Super League clubs will also be involved in Carlsberg Cup which is currently at regional level and the Fisd Challenge Cup which will kick off in September, according to the calendar released by FAM.
Other engagements on the calendar include Cosafa Cup to be held in South Africa this month.
Sulom GS Banda said no club will be exempted from fixtures despite contributing players to the Flames squad that will be at the regional tournament, to avoid delaying the league. n