The Southern Region Football Association (SRFA) has been forced to postpone the start of its league because only two Premier Division teams—Cobbe Barracks and Blantyre United—have registered.
Initially, the league was scheduled to kick off this weekend, but according to SRFA vice-general secretary Kingsly Simbeye, who doubles as fixtures secretary, it could roll out on May 3.
The development could again affect the harmonised calendar as the plan was that all the second-tier leagues and the Super League should run concurrently.
“So far, only two teams have registered despite several reminders to the teams.
“We have, therefore, extended the registration period by two weeks and hopefully, the teams will come up to register or else we will just have to start with the teams that would have completed the process,” said Simbeye.
He played down a suggestion that the new requirement that clubs should be paying three-quarters [K90 000] of the K120 000 registration fee could be the stumbling block.
“I do not think so because all the clubs were party to the agreement during the meeting we had and there were no objections,” said Simbeye.
Max Kapanda, owner of Premier Division side Max Bullets, said clubs are taking their time to register because the league has not been clear on the actual kick-off date .
“For instance, on my part, I am ready to pay and I do not pay in instalments, but only that I thought there is still more time before the league kicks-off,” said Kapanda.
He also urged SRFA to take a firm line and enforce the requirement on registration fee upfront payment.
“Even if it means only six teams registering, the SRFA should stick to the agreement because it is the only way that can demonstrate seriousness on the part of the teams,” said Kapanda.
The SRFA vice-GS also said the other challenge is that they are yet to meet with the referees to agree on how they can settle outstanding officiation fee balances and then plan for the forthcoming season.
It is estimated that the league owes referees K1.3 million
“The arrangement is that before we start a new season, we are supposed to sit down with the referees to clear outstanding issues from last season and then plan for the new season and we are yet to do that,” he said.
He hinted that the meeting with the referees is most likely to take place next week.
Blantyre District Football Referees Committee GS Mike Makoto said they were surprised that the SRFA announced the kick-off date before meeting his committee.
“Our position is that we cannot commit to officiating games for the forthcoming season before the outstanding balances are cleared,” he said.