The bulk of the TNM Super League clubs are set to start pre-season training next week— two months prior to the 2016 season kickoff.
According to the Super League of Malawi (Sulom), the top-flight football league is scheduled roll into life on April 9.
Reigning champions Nyasa Big Bullets, their runners-up Mafco, third and fourth-placed Blue Eagles and Be Forward Wanderers respectively, have confirmed that they will kick-start preparations this coming week.
Civo United, Max Bullets, Mzuni and Chilumba Barracks are also set to regroup next week while Epac FC, Silver Strikers have hinted that they will resume training after next week.
Bullets technical director Billy Tewesa said they are convinced that after a lengthy season, five weeks was enough time for the players to rest.
“We have had a break for over a month and I am sure the players have had a good rest and they will come back with renewed purpose and hunger.
“Definitely we have to start this coming week as we cannot afford to sit on our laurels. We have a new sponsor Nyasa Manufacturing Company [NMC] and we have to reward them for their faith and confidence by defending the title.
“As defending champions we also have pride to protect. So, it’s time to get started,” said Tewesa.
Wanderers team manager Stevie Madeira also said the Nomads will resume training on Tuesday afternoon at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.
“We are calling on all our players, including the two new signings [Rafiq Namwera and Ernest Tambe] to report for training at exactly 2pm.
“Unlike most teams, we will keep faith in the squad that we had last season, if anything, we will just sign a few more players. So, we will not be conducting trials for potential new players,” said Madeira.
Mafco FC coach Thomas Maloya said his team will kick-start preparations for next season on Tuesday.
“As usual, we are not expecting to sign any big names, but we will beef up the team with some new faces that will impress during the pre-season training,” he said.
Eagles team manager Gabriel Chirwa said they will start with pre-season tour games this week to identify talent.
Civo United team manager Charles Mwenda said they will commence preparations either next Tuesday or Wednesday.
“The coaching panel has already submitted its programme. We might invade the market, but we are not in a hurry. We will take our time, otherwise we have confidence in the current squad,” said Mwenda.
Silver Strikers technical director Young Chimodzi said they expect to wind up open trials next week before engaging an extra gear with pre-season training the following week.
“We have identified some good players from the open trials and we are hoping to finish this coming week and thereafter, we will step up our preparations by starting pre-season training,” he said.
His Mzuni counterpart Kinnah Phiri also said after completing open trials tomorrow, they are hoping to step up the preparations on Tuesday by going full throttle.
Max Bullets owner Max Kapanda said his team will set the ball rolling on the preparations with trials at Chiwembe Technical Centre Ground from Tuesday, “to identify new players than can add value to the team and after about a week or so, those that will be selected will be joined by the oldguard.
“Our drawback though is that the Southern Region Football Association [SRFA] has still not provided us with the prize money which they promised because we wanted the money to cater for that exercise.”
Tigers technical director Robin Alufandika said they will kick-start their pre-season training on Monday February 8 at Country Club Limbe from 2pm.
“We are inviting new players to come and showcase their skills and if they impress, we will sign them because it is not automatic that we will retain all our old players. They will have to compete with the new ones,” he said.
Epac FC chairperson Trickson Chiutsi said they will start their pre-season on February 9 and they are set to off-load some players as per coaching panel’s recommendation while Moyale FC assistant coach Themba Mtontholo yesterday said they had not yet agreed on when to start pre-season training.
“Hopefully by tomorrow [today], we should know when we are starting,” he said.
Sulom general secretary (GS) Williams Banda said all the 15 clubs will be required to get affiliated and then licensed.
“Upon getting licensed then they can embark on player registration. Registration fee is K150 000 each team whereas licensing is K100 000 each club,” said Banda.
The Sulom GS further said the transfer window will run up to March 31, a week before the league rolls into life, while registration period will be between March 1 and April 30.
“We are therefore urging the clubs to inform us whenever they are doing transfers. We are also asking them to provide their home grounds to enable us come up with a full-fledged fixtures,” he said.