Football officials in Lilongwe were taken to task by Civo Stadium authorities over the presence of DPP women at the prize presentation of the Professor Peter Mutharika Central Region Women Football League on Saturday.
The league is sponsored by Mutharika who is acting president of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
Civil Service Sports Club manager Peter Kandikole reportedly summoned National Women Football Committee (NWFC) treasurer Winnie Kayuni and Central Region Football League (CRFL) chairperson Dean Josiah-Banda over the issue.
Kayuni confirmed the development on Tuesday saying Kandikole told her to submit a report on the matter which she did. Kandikole could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.
Said Kayuni: “Before the function on Saturday morning, I was called by Mr. Kandikole who told me he was not comfortable with the presence of DPP women at the venue [which is owned by government].
“My explanation to him was that in as far as we were concerned, this was not a party function, but a mere football prize presentation ceremony and we had no control over the people that would come to the function.
“Then after the function, he [Kandikole] summoned me, Josiah-Banda and FAM executive member James Mwenda. I went to see him alongside Josiah-Banda and he told us that he had been instructed by authorities at OPC [Office of the President and Cabinet] to write a report on the presence of party women at the function.
“Then in turn, Kandikole asked me to write a report about the function and before I prepared the report, I took up the matter with FAM competitions manager Casper Jangale who advised me on how to handle it.
“Apparently, when I prepared the report and submitted it to Kandikole, he rejected it at first and instructed me to write another one that would mention the presence of DPP women at the function to which I refused because I reiterated to him that we had no control over the presence of the so-called DPP women and, if anything, our interest was the sponsor [Mutharika].”
FAM chief executive officer Suzgo Nyirenda said they were yet to get an official report from Mwenda [who represented FAM] as well as the NWFC.
“But what I know is that the NWFC was right to say that the other logistics of any tournament are handled by the sponsor. The presence of party women was outside our jurisdiction because we do not know in what capacity they came to the stadium and who invited them,” said Nyirenda.
Mutharikaâ€™s personal assistant Ben Phiri said he was aware that the football officials had been summoned over the presence of DPP women at the function.
“We found it to be very unfortunate because the sponsor of the tournament is a leader of a political party and, obviously, there was nothing wrong with the presence of party women at the function,” said Phiri.
He added: “If that is the case, then we may as well consider pulling out the sponsorship.”
Apart from sponsoring the regional women football leagues, Mutharika also sponsors the Southern Region Football League.