Dust settles down for referee Aziz Nyirenda

it has been on BBC, CNN and even Supersport. Malawi’s football image was dented. Malawian referees from the northern region were attacked left and right for being involved in corruption to fix a Carlsberg Cup Round of 32 match involving Chitipa United and Nchalo United at Mzuzu Stadium on 13th July 2017. They ended up getting a life ban by the National Referees Committee.

Refree Azizi Nyirenda banned after match-fixing goes wrong

This is a story of referee George Aziz Nyirenda, his two assistants Limbani Chisambi and Lameck Phiri, and the fourth official Stephano Gomani. Nyasa Times wrote this story when the Northern Region Referees Committee chaired by Mr Mavuto Msimuko, gave them months suspensions before the National Referees Committee reacted with a life ban.

But now George Aziz Nyirenda and his colleagues can afford smiles on their faces because the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) has overruled the life bans imposed on them and have replaced them with lighter sanctions.

According to a statement issued by FAM’s Chief Executive Officer, Alfred Gift Gunda, and seen by Nyasa Times, the said match officials will have a chance of getting hold of whistles and flags to officiate matches in the 2018/19 season.

At a disciplinary hearing held on 3rd February, 2018, FAM found out that the match was not fixed. The disallowed goal for Nchalo United FC during the match removed any possibility of match fixing and that all available evidence presented suggested that Aziz Nyirenda was not aware of the intended bribe. It also found out that Mr Jimmy Nangamtani Phiri did approach Mr George Aziz Nyirenda to offer him the bribe which the latter refused to be part of.

The football governing body therefore found Nyirenda innocent of taking bribes but guilty of failing to report the attempted match fixing. Again it was found out that Nyirenda, Limbani Chisambi,  Stephano Gomani and  Lameck Phiri never handled the bribery money.

Secretary General for Nchalo United, Enock Whayo, and the team’s Coach Mabvuto Lungu and Technical Director  Patson Nyengo were involved in the attempted match fixing and therefore found guilty of such.

It was therefore established that there was no match fixing but rather an attempt which is contrary to Articles 2, 8, 9, 62 and 69 of the FAM Disciplinary Code.

Consequently, Jimmy Nangamtani Phiri has been banned from taking part in any football-related activity for 36 months effective 13th July 2017. He has further been banned from entering any stadium in Malawi for 10 months effective 8th February 2018. Chisambi has been banned from taking part in any football-related activity for 4 months effective 13th July 2017.

Stephaned Gama has been slapped with an 18 months ban effective 13th July 2017 while Nyirenda has been slapped with a 2 months ban, also effective 13th July 2017.

Nchalo United has been fined K500, 000.00 and will have 3 points deducted from its point tally in the 2018 TNM Super League in which they are debutants. Lungu has been handed a 36 months ban effective 13th July 2017 and no stadium entry for 10 months effective February 8, 2018. The same is true for Whayo and  Nyengo.

Looking at the sanctions,  Nyirenda already finished serving his penalty.

It is also clear that the National Referees Committee rushed with their verdict of a life ban without a thorough investigation.

Analysts have faulted FAM for taking long in handling the matter with others speculating that it is because Nchalo United is sponsored Illovo Sugar Company where FAM President Walter Nyamilandu is the Marketing Manager.

Speaking to Nyasa Times on the issue, Chairperson of the Northern Region Referees Committee, Mabvuto Msimuko, said he was happy with outcome of the appeals hearing by FAM.

“The sanctions that FAM has imposed are similar to the ones we earlier imposed. I think the National Referees Committee rushed with the life ban,” he added.

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