For the first time in over a decade no newly-promoted team will be relegated from the TNM Super League.
Previously, it was predictably obvious that at least one or two promoted teams could face the chop at the end of season.
However, this season Mafco FC, Ekwendeni Hammers and Red Lions have defied the odds to stay on after they earned promotion last season.
Mafco are currently sixth on the 16-team log-table on 42 points with a game remaining to conclude their fixtures.
Ekwendeni are presently 10th on the league table with 38 points from 27 matches while Lions are 11th on 35 points with two games to play.
Mafco coach Temwa Msuku, his Lions counterpart Nelson Chirwa and Ekwendeni general secretary Benjamin Thole believe that although improved quality of football among teams from the lower leagues could be a contributing factor, their tactical discipline played a major role.
Msuku said: “Our players know the pain of playing in the lower league where they faced challenges such as playing on rough pitches in the rural areas. They learned a bitter lesson they fought hard not to return to second-tier football.”
On his part, Chirwa said Lions’ vast Super League experience was the magic wand.
“As you know, in 2018, we were relegated from Super League for the first time in at least three decades and we could not afford to repeat that mistake.”
Thole believes Ekwendeni could not have survived the chop had they not carefully blended young talent and experienced players as they brought into their squad a good number of players with vast Super League experience such as Harry Nyirenda, Eneya Banda, Maneno Nyoni and Ghanaian Michael Tetteh.
Super League of Malawi (Sulom) president Tiya Somba Banda concurred with soccer analyst George Kaudza Masina that the improved football standards among teams from the lower leagues played a big role.
“Mafco and Lions have been in the League before but it is pleasing to see rookies Ekwendeni pushing into the Top 8 and making it into the FDH Bank Cup finals in their first season of top-flight football,” Somba-Banda said.
Kaudza Masina said lessons that Mafco and Lions learned from their relegation debacle proved worthwhile as they knew the dictates for survival.