One man who regrets being associated with the loss of this cupÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s sponsorship is Joseph Lads Yotamu Chihana, who officiated a game between MTL Wanderers and Bakili Bullets in 2003. The game ended in violence following a Nomads goal which he ruled to have come from outside the field of play.
Said Chihana: Ã¢â‚¬Å“I will never forget that moment, because it spoiled my 12-year refereeing career when I retired in 2004.Ã¢â‚¬Â
In an interview recently, Chihana said circumstances surrounding the abandonment of the game earned him and his assistant Kalyoto Ngosi a three-month suspension, which he claims was communicated to him by phone by a FAM official who did not even introduce himself.
According to Chihana, he and Ngosi served the punishment, although they did not know who punished them.
Chihana, who comes from Mzokoto-Doroba Village in Rumphi, is remembered by many fans as one of MalawiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s best referees. He was a no nonsense referee who believed more in flashing the cards at players than cautioning them.
Unlike other referees, Chihana was ready to take charge of fixtures involving teams known for harassing match officials.
Chihana did his primary and secondary school education in Rumphi. He said he never played club football. The highest level he played football was at national level for his primary school in BAT-sponsored competitions.
He took up refereeing in 1982. His first games involved small teams in Mzuzu. Gradually, he started officiating league games and later qualified as a Fifa referee. In his career, he travelled extensively across Africa.