Debate has ensued over the Super League of Malawi (Sulom) decision that fans should, through TNM mobile phone text messages [SMS], vote for outstanding coaches and players of the 2014 season. The awards ceremony is this Friday in Blantyre.
Some critics feel the voting system gives an unfair advantage to teams such as champions Big Bullets who have a huge fan base; hence, favour their players in the awards for the best defender, midfielder, goalkeeper, coaching panel and player of the year. Voting ends this Friday.
Reacting to a brief e-mailed statement by Sulom treasurer Tiya Somba-Banda announcing the selection criteria, Joy Radio’s Wesysylas Chirwa argued that this amounted to “unfair competition. With BB’s dominance in Sapota Mapeto, all the awards will go to the People’s Team.”
Former Big Bullets chairperson Sunduzwayo Madise, who is on Sulom mailing list, wondered whether the voting will be “the people’s choices or will they be the league’s choices? I am aware that TNM stands to benefit from these SMSs, but are we not pushing things too far? Are these awards meritorious?”
On his part, Somba-Banda explained: “The feedback has been well received and points noted for future improvements to the concept. Malawi will not be the first country to have a public vote in selecting individual awards. Just recently the whole world voted Yacine Brahimi as the BBC African Footballer of the Year 2014 through the same medium [SMS] on top other online channels.” Categories of nominees are:
Vincent Gona, McDonald Harawa, Blessings Kameza and Richard Chipuwa
Francis Mulimbika, Yamikani Fodya, Sankhani Mkandawire and Emmanuel Zoya
Fischer Kondowe, Henry Kabichi, Phillip Masiye, Mike Kaziputa and Dalitso Sailesi
Big Bullets, Moyale Barracks FC, Silver Strikers and Azam Tigers
Player of the Season:
Fischer Kondowe, Gastin Simkonda and McDonald Harawa.