The wrong Presidential Cup semi-final fixtures that FAM released earlier have irked some clubs, which have accused the association of lacking seriousness in handling administrative issues.
As a result of the error, one of the semi-finalists, Moyale Barracks, on Tuesday threatened to pull out of the competition, alleging that FAM has a hidden motive.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) on Tuesday admitted that it communicated wrong fixtures to the clubs and the media.
After the weekend quarter-final games, FAM competitions manager Casper Jangale announced that Escom United would take on Red Lions whereas Big Bullets would face Moyale in the semi-finals.
But it transpired that, according to the initial national draw, Escom are expected to meet Bullets while Lions will host Moyale.
“Please be advised that I wrongly communicated the Presidential Cup semi-final fixtures. According to the draw, Moyale Barracks will meet Red Lions while Escom United will face Big Bullets,” said Jangale.
But Moyale did not take the mistake lightly on Tuesday. They threatened to pull out of the competition.
The clubâ€™s coach Nicholas Munthali and team manager Kazizwa-Banda said the mistake by FAM has inconvenienced them.
Said Munthali: “It would appear FAM has a hidden motive. They might have doctored the fixture to suit their interests. So, our position is that we are not going to play. Let the clubs that FAM wants to reach the finals continue in the competition.”
On his part, Kazizwa-Banda expressed surprise as to how FAM could make such a mistake.
“We were planning on playing our semi-final fixture at home [against Bullets] and all of a sudden we are told there was a mistake, there is more to it than meets the eye,” said Kazizwa-Banda.
Escom chairperson Fanuel Nkhono at first hit out at FAM, but later calmed down.
“It is unfortunate for the whole national football governing body to be making such mistakes.
“In fact, there were stories circulating that it was a ploy by FAM to ease the path for certain teams. However, to err is human. We are all bound to make mistakes and we learn from that.
“The most important thing is that they [FAM] have realised their mistake and have not only corrected it, but have also apologised,” said Nkhono.
Big Bullets general secretary Higger Mkandawire played down the issue.
“Such things are bound to happen and we do not have problems with FAMâ€™s mistake because we are ready to take on any team,” said Mkandawire.
Jangale has since apologised to all the stakeholders for the inconvenience the mistake might have caused.
“It was an oversight on my part and we plead with the teams to accept our apologies. I can assure them that there was nothing sinister behind it,” said Jangale.
FAM chief executive officer Suzgo Nyirenda also said they would try to reason with Moyale on the issue.
“It is unfortunate that things turned out that way. We hope the clubs will bear with us,” said Nyirenda.
Meanwhile, FAM has said both semi-final matches are scheduled for this Saturday. Lions will host Moyale at Zomba Community Centre ground whereas Escom will take on Bullets at Kamuzu Stadium.
To qualify for the semis, Escom beat Mafco 2-1 on Saturday whereas Bullets beat Bvumbwe Research 4-0 on Sunday. On the other hand, Lions edged Super Eagles 1-0 whereas Moyale beat Chikhwawa United 3-1.