TNM Super League clubs have welcomed the release of first-round fixtures for the 2020/2021 season, saying the development will help them plan properly for their games.
Previously, Super League of Malawi (Sulom) was coming up with piecemeal fixtures that caused financial and logistical challenges for clubs in the 16-team competition.
However, Sulom on Monday released 120-match first-round fixtures to be played between November 28 2020 and March 21 2021.
The first day will have five matches with a tussle involving defending champions Nyasa Big Bullets and last season’s third-placed Blue Eagles FC at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre being a headline encounter.
On the same day, Karonga United will host Chitipa United while newcomers Ekwendeni Hammers, Mafco FC and Mighty Tigers FC will be up against Kamuzu Barracks at Mzuzu Stadium, Red Lions at Chitowe and TN Stars at Mpira Stadium in Blantyre, in that order.
However, the pick of the first week will be a Lilongwe derby involving hosts Civil Service (Civo) FC and Silver Strikers at a yet-to-be-announced venue on the second day. Currently, Civo and Bingu stadiums, which were earmarked for the encounter, have not passed tests to host games.
On the same day, Be Forward Wanderers will start their campaign with an away fixture against Mzuzu Warriors at Mzuzu Stadium while Ntopwa FC will tussle against Moyale Barracks at Mpira Stadium in Blantyre.
Bullets chief administration officer Albert Chigoga said: “It is good that we will no longer struggle with the planning of our league games. Now, we are certain that we will have ample time to plan ahead.”
But while welcoming thedevelopment, Be Forward Wanderers general secretary Victor Maunde said they hope all fixtures will be fulfilled without interruptions.
“We are just asking that the fixtures should be implemented as per the released first-round fixtures. It should not be like last season when full second-round fixtures were released, but ended up having more than 50 percent of matches rescheduled,” he said.
Maunde said considering that the league will be played in the rainy season, it is inevitable that some matches might be affected, leading to postponements.
But Sulom vice-general secretary Zachariah Nyirenda yesterday said they cannot guarantee that everything will go according to plan due to the situation they found themselves in due to the prolonged wait for sports return.
He said: “We know we will be playing our games during the rainy season where some games might be interrupted by bad weather conditions. However, we need to brace for these hard times. It is better to let the games begin than wait any longer,” he said.
Initially, the season was supposed to start on March 21, but was suspended as a preventive mesure against the spread of the coronavirus.
The Presidential Task on Covid-19 lifted the suspension in September.