Whether by design or mere coincidence, most sides from Malawi’s central region that have been paired against teams from other regions will be playing away from home in the early stages of the Carlsberg Cup football competition, according to the national draw conducted by Football Association of Malawi (Fam) on Monday.
A closer look at fixtures released by Fam after the national draw shows that no team from the centre paired against a team from another region will play at home during the preliminary stage, which will see Mponela United, Epac FC, Kamuzu Barracks and Namitete Young Rangers traveling to the south and northern region parts of the country to
fulfill their fixtures.
In the round of 16, only Epac FC and Mponela would be at home against opponents from other regions if they win their preliminary ties but regional giants- Silver Strikers, Civo, Mafco will be on the road.
Silver will be away against Big Bullets with their city rivals Civo expected to travel to the south for a date against Blantyre United.
Should Mafco cruise to the round-of-16, they are also expected to travel down south for a date against Azam Tigers.
Reacting to the draw, an official from one of the central region based big guns, who did not want to be named said it could not be a coincidence that all central region teams paired against teams from other regions in the preliminaries have to travel.
The official also wondered how all the big sides from central region- Silver, Civo and Mafco could be drawn to play away against opponents from other regions.
“If one critically analyses the fixtures, one would be compelled to think there has been some foul play. It cannot be a coincidence that all central region based teams paired against opponents from other regions in the preliminary stage have to travel and that all the regional giants paired against teams from other regions in the last 16 have to travel.
“How can the guys at Fam justify this. I have no problems with the pairings (fixtures) but the issue of who plays at home or away raises some suspicions,” said official.
Fam is yet to comment on the observation but a couple of years ago, the association was forced to re-conduct a draw for the Presidential Cup after it was observed that all central region giants Silver, Civo and Blue Eagles were put on the same path.
Below are fixtures for the preliminary stage and round of sixteen:
Preliminary Round (3/4 August 2013)
Mzuni vs Namitete Young Rangers
Chanco vs Mponela
Envirom vs Epac FC
Mzuzu United FC vs Kamuzu Barracks FC
Sadzi FC vs Bvumbwe Research FC
Mzuzu City Rangers vs Azam Tigers FC
Kabwafu FC vs Black Stars FC
Mafco FC vs Maicc FC
ROUND OF 16 ( 17/18 August)
Bullets FC vs Silver Strikers
Mzuzu United/K. Barracks vs Blue Eagles FC
Red Lions FC vs Mighty Wanderers FC
Chanco/Mponela vs Mzuni/Namitete
Blantyre United FC vs Civo FC
Mzuzu City/Azam Tigers vs Mafco/Maicc
Kabwafu/Black Stars vs Moyale FC
Evirom/Epac vs Sadzi/ Bvumbwe