Super League of Malawi (Sulom) says it will not reschedule TNM Super League matches involving clubs that have contributed players towards the Flames’ squad for the Cosafa Cup.
This is despite Sulom rules and regulations stipulating that a team shall only be exempted from playing after contributing four or more players to the national team.
The Flames leave for South Africa on Friday for the regional tournament slated for Polokwane from May 27 to June 9.
The development will likely affect Be Forward Wanderers, who have a fixture against Kamuzu Barracks at Civo Stadium in Lilongwe on Saturday.
The Nomads have contributed eight players—Richard Chipuwa, Stanley Sanudi, Precious Sambani, Dennis Chembezi, Peter Cholopi, Rafick Namwela, Felix Zulu and Alfred Manyozo Jnr.
Nyasa Big Bullets, who have contributed strikers Chiukepo Msowoya, Patrick Phiri and John Lanjesi, face Mzuzu University (Mzuni) at Mulanje Park Stadium on Saturday as well, but are not eligible for exemption, going by the rules.
Sulom general secretary (GS) Williams Banda said Football Association of Malawi (FAM) did not communicate to the league runners about the tournament; hence, the decision to maintain the fixtures.
“So, Malawi is participating at Cosafa Cup? Officially, we are not aware. That is why we have released the fixtures and all teams are playing. We are not going to change that,” he said.
Asked if FAM did not communicate to Sulom on the 2018 calendar of events, Banda said the document is not confirmation of participation.
“The calendar does not indicate which players will be involved in the national team,” he said.
But FAM GS Alfred Gunda accused Sulom of double standards when it comes to Cosafa Cup and local league fixtures.
“It’s the same old story every year as [Sulom] claim they are not aware of the Cosafa Cup,” he said.
Commenting on the exemption rule, Banda said even with the agreement, FAM needs to communicate to Sulom on the players that will be picked.
“Today is Tuesday and the Flames squad will be out on Thursday. Do you expect us to reschedule fixtures a day before the matches?” the GS wondered.
But the clubs have pleaded with Sulom to respect FAM as its mother body.
Wanderers chairperson Gift Mkandawire said they will go by the rules.
“The rule is clear that if a team contributes four players or more then it shall be exempted and we are going to apply it,” he said.
On his part, Silver GS Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda, whose team has contributed two players in Brighton Munthali and Levison Maganizo, said: “As a FAM affiliate, Sulom ought to respect the national team fixtures. In other parts of the world, teams in leagues do not play when the national team has assignments.
“The stand by Sulom is a sign of disrespect for the mother-body. The result of this would be that clubs will be forced to cling to their players when the national team is playing.”