On-and-off Flames goalkeeper Simplex Nthala has been banned for three years by the Mozambican top-flight Mocambola League after finding him guilty of physically assaulting a referee in a league game last month.
According to Flames coach Ernest Mtawali, who was in Mozambique at the weekend to assess some Malawian players, Nthala’s team Maxaquene is appealing against the suspension.
Until his suspension, Nthala had enjoyed a rich vein of form conceding a single goal in 10 straight matches and was tipped to be rewarded with the Goalkeeper of the Season Award.
“In my schedule, one of the players that I had planned to watch was Simplex as his team was playing against Charles Swini’s team. But I learnt while there that Simplex has just been banned. However, his club was supposed to file an appeal to day because they are disappointed with the ruling,” said Mtawali.
The Flames mentor said he is expecting Nthala to join the Flames squad by today having asked Football Association of Malawi (FAM) to negotiate for his release.
“I spoke to his club officials and they are saying he was by far the best keeper in the league this season and they believe the move to suspend him is an act of sabotage to frustrate Maxaquene’s good run. Pending hearing of his appeal, we would rather have him here to train with the team in preparation for the [2017 Africa Cup of Nations] qualifier against Swaziland,” said Mtawali.
Initially, Nthala was red-carded when his table-topping Maxaquene lost 1-0 away to Ferroviario de Nacala last month, a result that denied the former Be Forward Wanderers goaltender a record 10th clean slate in four games.
Nthala could not be reached for comment yesterday, but he confirmed in an interview with The Nation last month having been involved in a bust-up with the referee. n