Some TNM Super League teams have backed a suggestion to reduce the number of teams in the wake of financial constraints caused by the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
Football analyst and sports marketing consultant Felix Ngamanya Sapao yesterday said there is need for the Super League of Malawi (Sulom) to consider reducing the number of teams from 16 to 12 or 14, saying financial constraints are taking a toll on teams due to the effects of the pandemic.
He said: “As the situation stands, there is need to make tough decisions. Reducing the number of teams would help ease financial challenges that teams are facing.
“It would also ensure that the current league sponsorship is a bit satisfactory.”
Civo United general secretary Ronald Chiwaula agreed with the suggestion, saying: “I have been an advocate of this ever since. I don’t think we have reached the level of having 16 teams such as in South African top-flight league who are better financially than us.
“If it’s trimmed to 14 or 12, even sponsorship money will be adequate from both the sponsors of the clubs as well as the league, but maybe there’s an unheard story behind this.”
Be Forward Wanderers chairperson Symon Sikwese also backed the idea, saying: “ I would agree with that. We need to operate within our means.”
Silver Strikers chief executive officer Thoko Chimbali said: “It would make economic sense, but perhaps the question would be what criteria would be used to pick the 12/14 teams?
“Right now each team has zero points and how would they pick the 14 teams. We have had a Lilongwe Declaration made in 2009 which, among others, suggested limiting the number of teams. We would have crossed the bridge a long time ago.”
However, Blue Eagles chairperson Alexander Ngwala was of different opinion, saying:
“Expenditure is usually overwhelming at club level. Away games are also combined. For example, if you go to Blantyre you will face two teams.
“Reducing number of teams would not significantly result in teams saving money. Large number of teams in Super League means wider provision of community excitement on football. I would not support idea of reducing number of teams because it will reduce game morale.”
However, Sulom president Tiya Somba Banda quashed the idea, saying it does not make business sense.
“Only if the rationale makes football business sense of which it’s not the case at the moment,” he said.