From hero to villain: Leading scorer Mbulu in Malawi’s TNM Super League

Mafco FC’s Richard Mbulu, who is joint leading scorer with 11 goals together Mighty Be Forward Wanderers’ striker Peter Wadabwa, is no longer in contest for the Golden Boot award as he has been suspended for the rest of the season for being involved in the violent fracas that erupted on the eve of a Carlsberg Cup quarterfinal match involving the soldiers against Nyasa Big Bullets at the Chitowe Stadium.

Mbulu

Mbul

Mbulu, together with two other players — Paul Ndlovu and Stain Malata — have been punished by Football Association of Malawi (Fam) but Ndlovu and Malata have been banned for six matches while their team manager David Gulaimfa, who is a Lieutenant in the Malawi Defence Force (MDF), has been banned from any football related activities for three years.

According to the findings, the three players became violent following spoken instructions from their team manager Gulaimfa.

All eyes were on Mbulu’s scoring prowess that helped his team win end the first round on position three with 28 points. He scored 11 of the 29 the team scored in which they conceded 17.

But the focus now will be on Wadabwa and his closest rivals Chiukepo Msowoya of Nyasa Big Bullets on 9 goals; Anthony Banda of Epac FC and Blue Eagles’ Maxwell Salambula on 8 goals and Manasseh Chiyesa (Kamuzu Barracks), Kuda Muyaba (Moyale) and Gilbert Chirwa (Blue Eagles) on 7 goals.

Together with the six-match bans for Ndlovu and Malata, Mafco are also bound to be affected in their title campaign, in which they are just four points away from the first round leaders, Blue Eagles — who have 32 and points. They are just one point behind 2nd-placed Silver Strikers.

And just on the day that Fam meted out the punishments on Mafco, Nyasa Times carried an inspiration story on Mbulu’s exploits in which he has been nicknamed ‘Bad News’ by football analyst Charles Nyirenda during the ‘Soccer Show’  programme hosted by Mike Bango on Monday evenings on Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS).

In the report, Mbulu first tried his luck at Nyasa Big Bullets where he never made the grade and he moved to the Salima to try his luck with Mafco where coach Thomas Maloya noted his potential and  groomed him to become the prolific and influential striker he is today.

Last season, Nyirenda nicknamed Civo United’s Nelson Kangunje as the ‘Silencer’ because of the vital and timely goals he scored both in the top flight league as well as cup games.

And speaking to Nyasa Times’, Mbulu said the nickname was an honour to him and he would continue to work hard so that one day he could don the national colours and later play outside this country.

But that might not come to pass for simply been not sensible enough and get involved in the violent fracas over a simple issue of training pitch disagreement.

It is reported from the Fam verdict that as Bullets left the pitch after being chased by Mafco, their goalkeeper Chimwemwe Kumkwawa intended to retrieve a ball that was in possession of Mafco’s Ndlovu. Ndlovu reportedly slapped Kumkwawa and when two Bullets players, Fischer Kondowe and Niyikiza Aimeble went back to rescue their colleague, the situation got out of hand as other Mafco players Mbulu and Malata descended on them and rained punches on them.

It was also reported that Mbulu later rushed to a Mafco vehicle where he picked a metal bar which he used to whip one of the Bullets players.

Mbulu first scored in the 2-3 loss to Civo United on April 24 at Civo Stadium before hitting the second on May 1 during the 2-2 draw with Dwangwa United at Chitowe.

He was on target twice when Mafco beat Wizards 3-1 at Kalulu Stadium on May 14 and also found the net against Mighty Be Forward Wanderers the following day at Kamuzu Stadium.

Mbulu also scored on June 11 in the 1-0 win over Moyale Barracks at Chitowe Stadium. On July 10, he hit four when they beat rookies Karonga United 5-0 at Mzuzu Stadium and in the 2-1 win over Blue eagles on July 17.

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