Bankers’ woes in Karonga continue

Silver Strikers Football Club, The Bankers, had their second game abandoned this season in Karonga when a penalty decision by referee Mercy Kayira invited chaos at Karonga Stadium on Sunday.

They also had another game abandoned when they hosted Red Lions at their backyard, Silver Stadium, when the Lions claimed the ref’s decision had favoured the Bankers contrary to the situation on the pitch.

The Bankers, who lost the top slot on the TNM Super League log table to Nyasa Big Bullets, went to Karonga to fulfil two fixtures against Chitipa United and Karonga United on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

Prophet Gondwe prays for Silver Strikers ahead of Karonga tour

Before departure to the northern lakeshore district, the Bankers sought divine intervention for their woes when they invited Prophet P. Gondwe to share the grace of God with the team and technical panel.

The prophet read the scripture from Proverbs 16:19 which says, “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”

Ironically, the team lost 0-1 to Chitipa United on Saturday. Skilful and dread rocked Emmanuel Muyira scored Chitipa United’s only goal in the match.

Ref Mercy Kayira weeps

Come Sunday, Silver Strikers managed to keep the home side, Karonga United, at bay until referee Mercy Kayira blew her whistle for recess. There was a time, however, when a swarm of bees invaded the pitch disturbing play for some time before it left.

In the second half, the visitors scored a goal through Blessings Tembo after 62

Fans run for their lives

minutes. There was hope of returning to Lilongwe with 3 points on the Bankers’ bench.

Drama that led to chaos began when referee Mercy Kayira blew for a penalty to Karonga United. She later reversed her decision to award a free kick but her assistant insisted it was a penalty and so she changed her decision again to award the home side a penalty.

When Silver Strikers players started protesting, Karonga United supporters started pelting missiles onto the field of play and ref Mercy Kayira started weeping. Police aggravated the chaos by firing tear gas.

One person is feared dead and the game was abandoned at that stage. Super League of Malawi (SULOM) is yet to make a determination on the matter but the log table shows the Bankers have been awarded three points from the game.

One journalist who was at the stadium and spoke on condition of anonymity, claims his life was in danger.

“Our lives were in danger. Malawi police once something happens, the first thing they think about is tear gas, instead of controlling the crowd. The police made the situation worse than it was supposed to be.

“I am not sure about the safety of the referee because when she was blowing the whistle, she was crying. You know Karonga people when they are angry,” he said.

Since this season started, this is the fourth match to end prematurely. The Blantyre derby involving Wanderers and Bullets ended prematurely with tear gas as well, and so was that of Silver Strikers against Red Lions, Moyale Barracks against Mighty Tigers and now Karonga United against Silver Strikers.

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