The Presidential Cup faced a glitch at Balaka Stadium on Saturday when a game between last year’s district champions Chilobwe FC and Tisewere ended prematurely.
The development followed disagreements over a goal scored by Chilobwe.
Chilobwe led in the first-half through Patrick Chitsime’s 20th minute strike after a defensive mix-up.
In the second-half, Samuel Chibwana scored in the 74th minute to make it 2-0 for Chilobwe.
But immediately after the goal, goalkeeper Francis Mkanda rushed to second assistant referee Peter Kapeni to protest. This earned the former Red Lions reserve goalkeeper a red card from referee Chimwemwe Truwa.
Following the incident, almost all Tisewere players descended on both the referee and his assistant in protest of the decision. When the situation got worse, the referees were whisked away to the dressing room, marking the end of the game.
Tisewere coach Mark Matsimbe expressed disappointment over the referee’s decision.
“Why did the referee allow the goal when it was a clear off-side? His decision was questionable. That is why we could not continue the match,” he said.
Many spectators in the open stands were overheard saying the goal was scored from an off-side position.
Chancy Fodya, elder brother to Bullets’ left-back Yamikani Fodya, told The Nation that the referee should have not allowed the goal.
“The scorer was already in an off-side position when he received the ball. Everyone saw it and I expected the assistant referee to raise the flag,” he said.
According to Fifa rules, if a match ends prematurely before 75 minutes, a replay is required.
Balaka Football League (BFL) treasurer Gray Chitsonga said the committee would determine the next course of action after they get the referee’s match report.
“We will also wait for Tisewere to submit their complaint to see what happens next. Should there be need for a replay we will do that,” said Chitsonga.
During the game, Chilobwe displayed a not-so-impressive performance against an inexperienced Tisewere.