The Super League ofÃ‚Â Malawi (Sulom) has warnedÃ‚Â TNM Super League title chasing teams and match officials not to toy around with the idea of match-fixing as the flagship league winds up on Saturday with decisive games.
League leaders Escom United, second and third-placed Silver Strikers and Mighty Wanderers respectively, have a chance to win the honours that go with an K8 million (about $48 000) prize.
Escom, who have 47 points, host Silver at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre whereas the Nomads will engage Moyale Barracks in Mzuzu. Both the Bankers and the Nomads are two points short of the Escom, but the former have a superior goal difference.
Super League of Malawi (Sulom) general secretary Williams Banda on Thursday put all the concerned parties on guard and warned of stern action against any club or official found to have brought the game into disrepute should they be convicted of winning or losing corruptly.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Football is the worldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s most beautiful game whose credo should be religiously protected from the spectre of hooliganism, match-fixing, illegal betting and acts of conduct bordering on corruption.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We shall closely monitor the last games and should red flags be raised, Sulom shall swiftly move in to protect the game. The league has at its disposal statutes whose provisions can be invoked at the earliest possible call and the support of the law enforcement agents,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Banda.
He issued a passionate appeal to teams and match officials involved in the final round of matches to exercise the spirit of fair play.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“This warning does not go only to teams that are chasing the title, but also to teams that are fighting for the top positions that attract prizes,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
Added Banda: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Sulom as the league governing body, would like to appeal to all its teams, to ensure that Fair Play is observed to the letter in the final home stretch of football matches. The final weekend is going to witness a dog fight as teams fight for either the championship and top positions.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Banda also appealed to the fans to conduct themselves in a manner that does not bring football into disrepute. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Sulom wishes all clubs involved in the weekend games, the best of luck. May the game of football be the ultimate winner,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said, adding that the league has been very competitive from start to the end.
Former Mighty Wanderers coach Yasin Osman has also described the season as nerve-shredding. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Until last week, there were at least five teams still in contention and that just shows you how tight the league has been. And as things are, it is difficult to predict the winner because all the three teams stand a good chance, although Escom and Silver stand better chances,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Osman.
Meanwhile, Sulom has announced that there will be a carnival in all the three cities to bring down the curtain to a remarkable season.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“A genuine trophy and two other symbolic trophies will be paraded in the townships in the cities of Blantyre, Mzuzu and Lilongwe.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“There will also be other interesting activities such as live band shows,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
Banda said a match to curtain-raise the Blantyre decider is being organised between TNM staff and the media.
Runners-up in the league will take home K4 m ($24 000) the third-placed team gets K2 million (about $12 000), with the fourth-best team getting K1.5 million ($8 982).