It’s such an exciting tight race for the TNM title

The race for the 2016/17 TNM Super League is promising to be another photo finish with three teams — Nyasa Big Bullets, Blue Eagles and Mafco — tying on 45 points with just a few games to wrap up the season.Duncan Logo

The defending champions, Big Bullets, lead on goal difference of 20 from 37 scored and 17 conceded but they have played one game more (25) while the other two have played 24.

Blue Eagles have goal difference of 16 from 37 scored and 21 conceded while Mafco have 15 from 43 scored and 28 conceded.

Maximum points to amass if the defending champions win their remaining five games are 60 and 63 each for second-placed Blue Eagles and third-placed Mafco if they win their remaining six games.

Coming close on the heels of the top three with 43 points are 4th-placed Silver Strikers, who are set to clinch the title if they claim all three points from each of their remaining seven games.

On 5th place are Kamuzu Barracks also on 43 points from 24 games and their maximum points to accumulate from the remaining six games are 61.

Mighty Wanderers are a distant 6th with 41 points and their maximum points from their remaining five games are 56.

From the way the action and the results from it, the position the Nomads can realistic fight for is third. Their next game, after their emphatic 4-1 triumph over 8th-placed Epac, is against second-placed Blue Eagles on Thursday, November 24.

Fourth-placed Silver Strikers will meet 5th-placed Kamuzu Barracks. The Bullets and Mafco are not engaged for the league this weekend or midweek but for the next weekend.

Another interesting factor towards the end of the league are the number of goals scored just this weekend — 29 from eight games. From those  there were four braces— from Blue Eagles’ Phillip Masiye in their 2-1 win over Dwangwa United; Bullets’ captain Chiukepo Msowoya from their 4-3 win over Karonga, whose captain Khumbo Msowoya also claimed a brace. The other brace was from Wanderers’ Peter Wadabwa in their 4-1 victory over Epac.

Out of the good news coming from this season’s action and drama, is the unfortunate withdrawal of relegation bound Maxi Bullets. Maxi Bullets, who are 16th with eight points and the maximum they could accumulate if they win their remaining five games are 23, claim that they cannot afford to honour the rest of the matches due to financial constraints.

It’s really unfortunate that it had to come this way and the suspicious part of it all is that they are more or less relegated and why spend more in honouring their remaining games.

What is not fair is that the league’s rules and regulation allows other teams to benefit from this scenario of a withdrawal. Maxi Bullets’ opponents shall be receiving free three points plus two goals to nil. The team that have benefitted are Mzuni and if Max Bullets fail to pitch up for their next assignment against Moyale Barracks, the visitors two shall be granted three points.

In most league competitions around the world, if one team withdrawals, points are deducted from the teams they won from such a withdrawing team. This is so in order not to give an advantage to the other teams who have not yet played with such a withdrawing team.

I believe this should be applied in our league too and at the beginning of the season, a warning should be issued to teams that they should also heavy penalties should they decided to withdraw in the middle of the season.

Yes, we are sailing in financial troubled waters as a country and running a Super League team is not an easy task. The other teams benefit from good revenue from gate takings only when they play against Big Bullets or Mighty Wanderers.

If Max Bullets is up against, say fellow strugglers Karonga United at the Kamuzu Stadium, just a handful of fans would patronise that game — they do not generate much interest from fans unless if they are doing very well on the log standings and such a game would sway towards either in Wanderers’ or Bullets’ favour or a disadvantage.

In that event, either Wanderers or Bullets fans would fill up the Kamuzu Stadium to give moral support for one of the two teams to win to give advantage to their favoured teams.

In such a tight race towards the finishing line, it is not fair to allow the teams at the top to be receiving free points because Maxi Bullets have withdrawn.

Sulom ought to look at this scenario in their rules and regulation for the next seasons.

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