Some clubs have protested Super League of Malawi’s (Sulom) decision to fix some second round opening games on Monday, querying that the arrangement will affect gate collections.
Be Forward Wanderers and Silver Strikers in particular, also fear the fixtures may lead into their players suffering injuries and fatigue ahead of their Carlsberg Cup final four days later.
According to the fixtures issued on Sunday, the Monday games will see the Nomads taking on Red Lions, Nyasa Big Bullets face PremierBet Wizards FC, Karonga United host Dwangwa United, Kamuzu Barracks meet Mafco while Silver host MTV Max Bullets.
Dwangwa United vice-general secretary Chris Kalonga said fixing the games on a working day will likely affect the gate collections.
“We have always been against mid-week matches because they are not conducive in as far as gate revenue collection is concerned. Playing on Monday is a loss and we believe that Sulom, in future, will consult us when it wants to fix the games on such days,” he said.
Wanderers’ team manager Steve Madeira said the Monday fixture is unfair to his club as some of its players are expected to play for the Flames in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier against Swaziland on Sunday.
“After playing on Sunday they are expected to feature against Red Lions and then the following Saturday we have a crucial Carlsberg Cup final, it is not a healthy situation as our players risk picking injuries,” he said.
Madeira also feared low patronage would mar their match at Zomba Community ground, saying: “Some football lovers will be at work while others will be running their businesses.”
The team manager said they would formally lodge a complaint to Sulom against the Monday fixture.
Silver coach Lovemore Fazili, who sounded surprised that his team has been handed a match on Monday, also criticised the fixture as ill-timed.
“The fixture will be a massive disruption to our Carlsberg Cup preparations. It would have been better to cancel these fixtures,” said Fazili whose club has also contributed two players, defender Lucky Malata and midfielder Thuso Paipi, to the national team.
Responding to the club’s concerns, Sulom general secretary Williams Banda said there is no rule which bars the body from fixing games on Monday.
“What we have simply done is move the games from Sunday to Monday because of the national team engagement. The clubs should know that we can fix the matches on any day,” he said.
Banda said they would not cancel the matches because it would affect their league calendar.
“We do not want some teams to have a pile of fixtures. This is why we just moved the fixtures by a day only. Secondly, you know some of these games will be beamed live on television so, it will disrupt planning for the TV guys,” he said. n