Match-fixing claims in Malawi TNM Super League title campaign: BT United probe players

The ghost of match-fixing has returned to haunt Malawi football with  Blantyre United technical director Lawson Nakoma claiming  his four players were involve in match fixing in their 5-0 defeat to title contenders Silver Strikers in the TNM Super League on Sunday at Silver Stadium in Lilongwe.

Nakoma said four players of Blantyre United had offered to fix their game against the Bankers in return for bribes.

He said the players – identities withheld for now – will be dealt with accordingly if found guilty after an internal probe.

Blantyre United also popularly known as ‘Mphembedzu’ were hot contenders for the title until Sunday when they lost miserably to the Bankers and surrender their title campaign.

Some of Blantyre United players
Some of Blantyre United players

The Bankers are in the driving seat with 54 points from 25 games. They just need six points to retain the title for the third consecutive year. Big Bullets are second on 52 points from 26 games while Blantyre United remain third on 48 points from a similar number of games.Silver’s maximum tally is 63 points while Bullets and Blantyre can only get as far as 54 and 58 points, respectively.

In an exclusive interview with Nyasa Times on Monday, Nakoma said he was disappointed with some of his four players for not being committed ahead of the Bankers game.

“We have received reports that some players were behind to our downfall after being coxed with cash from some Silver Strikers officials. It is painful to lose with such a margin and you could even tell that some of the players were not committed at all in the entire game,”
said Nakoma.

According to a reliable source at Blantyre United, the whole saga started last week Tuesday at their training ground when one senior player (name withheld) failed to report for training.

“When the coach asked him why he failed to report for training, he told him that he was not feeling well and that he had to go to Queen Elizabeth Hospital where he was admitted. To the coach’s dismay, when officials went to find out at Queens whether they were aware of the player being hospitalized, the doctors showed ignorance on the issue, meaning the player was lying,” he said.

The source went on to stress that another surprising thing was that the player was not picking up calls from his officials until some revelations were known allegedly that he was keeping in touch with some Silver Strikers officials.

“What we gathered is that the player was being used to coax the other three players to fix the game at the price of K50, 000 each. I can even tell you that the players were promised to be paid installment starting with K15, 000 each hoping to get the rest of the money after completing their job,” he revealed.

The inside source also pointed it out that the player, who faked sickness was nowhere to be seen during Sunday’s encounter while one of the players mentioned was showing some signs of stress in the dressing room before the match.

Fixture changes

In a related development, the Super League of Malawi has changed this week’s TNM Super League fixture three times to the dismay of many spectators.

According to a revised second round fixture on February 09, 2013, Big Bullets was supposed to face Epac FC at Kamuzu Stadium; Blue Eagles versus Azam Tigers at Nankhaka Stadium; Kabwafu FC versus Mafco FC at Mzuzu Stadium; Kamuzu Barracks versus Silver Strikers at Civo Stadium while Bvumbwe Research was expected to meet Escom United at Zomba Community Ground.

On the following day, February 10, 2013, Blantyre United was supposed to meet Epac FC at Kamuzu Barracks with Kamuzu Barracks versus Azam Tigers at Civo Stadium while Blue Eagles was supposed to meet Civo United.

However, in their changed fixture on Monday, February 04, 2013, Sulom quashed Azam Tigers fixtures to the capital city as earlier indicted in their revised fixtures for second round, a thing which did not go well with Tigers coach Leo Mpulura, who confronted Sulom general
secretary Williams Banda on why they changed a fixture already released

Nyasa Times understands that Mpulura called Banda to seek clarifications on why they changed their fixture describing the development as unprofessional.

Some few minutes later, Banda changed the fixture again by quashing all Epac games in the commercial city where it was supposed to take on Big Bullets at Kamuzu Stadium on Saturday before meeting Blantyre United on the same venue 24 hours later.

In their latest fixture, it shows that instead of playing Kamuzu Barracks, Silver Strikers have to face Epac FC at Silver Stadium while Big Bullets and Blantyre United will be on bye this weekend.

In another changed fixture, Azam Tigers will revert to the first revised fixture as they travel to the capital city to take on Blue Eagles before Kamuzu Barracks at Civo Stadium.

On Tuesday next week, Blue Eagles takes on Civo United.

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