Malawi Defence Force (MDF) says it is ready to pull out its teams from both the TNM Super League and the country’s regional leagues if people feel this is the right way to go in the wake of tensions and bad blood that have developed between military teams and civilians.
Reacting to persistent calls from some quarters for Super League of Malawi (Sulom) to implement the 2009 Lilongwe declaration, which advocated that institutions like MDF should have only one representative in the Super League, MDF’s Chief of Training Brigadier General Paul Phiri said the army was ready to withdraw all its teams from Super League if it was in the interest of the nation.
“We have no problems withdrawing our teams from the Super League and the regional leagues and form our own league if people don’t want our teams in the leagues. But I feel this may not be a good idea because you do not correct a wrong with another wrong.
“Our teams are not in the Super League by chance. They earned promotions into the league and have greatly contributed to the competitiveness of the league, thereby helping in strengthening the Malawi national football team,” said Phiri in an interview with Nyasa Times.
Phiri, who is in charge of sporting activities in the MDF by virtue of his position described the 2009 Lilongwe Declaration as a mere suggestion, which can be taken or not.
On the violence allegedly perpetrated by soldiers at Kamuzu Stadium after the recent TNM Super League match between Surestream and Red Lions, Phiri said: “All we have is hearsay and we are making our own investigations before taking any course of action.
“ We know the football authorities did their investigations and punished our team but we also need to know the root cause of what happened on that particular day.
“We feel there is a problem somewhere. There are things that probably we (the military) are not seeing but we also feel there are issues that the other side has to address,” he said.
The MDF Chief of Training, however, reiterated the military’s strict adherence to discipline.
“Discipline is one of the corner stones for the military job and if we find that some members on our side were in the wrong, we will take action. Similarly, we expected the football authorities to act on those that provoked the situation,” he said.
Following the violence that erupted at Kamuzu Stadium, Sulom fined Red Lions a total of K3.6 million and banned eight players from the military side from taking part in Sulom activities for a maximum period of one year. The players in question were found guilty of assaulting referee Boniface Chapinga after the game.
Chapinga had denied Red Lions three goals apart from awarding two penalties to Surestream, who managed a two-all draw against the soldiers- courtesy of the two penalty kicks.
Despite some indications that the referee influenced the outcome of the match, no action has been taken against the ref, who received total backing from his association.
The violence at Kamuzu Stadium left one soccer fan, Geoffrey Mwale seriously injured. Mwale, was allegedly beaten up by soldiers from MDF’s Chichiri camp, who had come in a Tata truck to rescue Red Lions players from irate ganyu fans, who stoned the players before smashing their team bus.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :