Northern region loses two teams from super league

Out of the three teams that have been relegated from the county’s top flight league, two are from the northern region.

Besides Blantyre based Ntopwa Football Club, the other two are Mzuzu Warriors Football Club and Chitipa United, both from the northern region.

This is a worrisome development for soccer lovers in the northern region of Malawi. Chitipa United was using Karonga Stadium as its home ground together with Karonga United. This gave an opportunity to soccer lovers in Karonga and Chitipa to watch more super league action in a season.

Bye bye Chitipa United!

On the other hand, Mzuzu residents and people from other areas surrounding Mzuzu City also had a great opportunity to watch top flight league action courtesy of Moyale Barracks Football Club, Ekwendeni Hammers and the relegated Mzuzu Warriors.

Boston Kamanga, a top follower of the TNM Super League, laments relegation of the two sides.

“Honestly things have not gone on well. Responsible people should see to it that this should not happen again. Losing a single team would perhaps be understood but two is quite regrettable. All the teams in the central region are intact.

Fare thee well Mzuzu Warriors

“We will be denied more super league action in the next season,” lamented Kamanga.

Mzuzu Warriors finished at the very bottom of the log table with only 18 points from 30 games while Chitipa United has finished the season last Sunday on position 14 with 32 points from 30 games. Ntopwa FC finished on position 15 with 21 points from 30 matches. The Malawi top flight league comprises 16 teams.

Above Chitipa United, there is Mighty Tigers and Blue Eagles on positions 13 and 12, respectively and they too have 32 points just like Chitipa United but they have a better goal difference.

Mzuzu based former OT Spurs goalkeeper and coach, Joseph Tchuba, says relegation is best escaped in the first round and not in the second round.

“Fighting relegation in the second round becomes very tough and not every team can survive as Blue Eagles have done.

“The fixtures dangle 45 points for each team in each round. That’s the first round and the second round. Maximum points for the whole season are 90 (assuming a team wins all the 30 games in a season).

“Therefore, if a team can amass up to 28 points in the first round, it is assured of staying in the league because the points it can collect in the second round can take it to 36 points or more with no threat of relegation.

“It is sad that Mzuzu Warriors and Chitipa United started fighting relegation right away from the first three weeks of the season. In fact, the two teams have been fighting relegation throughout the season,” observed Tchuba.

There are however root causes to the two teams’ chop as observed by Nyasa Times.

To begin with, Mzuzu Warriors’ woes came with change of leadership at Mzuzu University. The club was formerly called Mzuni FC (Mzuzu University Football Club) and it was fully funded by Mzuzu University.

Everything was rosy for Mzuni FC when it had talented players like Lazarus Deco Nyemera, Madalitso Chiumia, Lughano Kayira, Mike Tetteh and many others. It was a threat to many super league sides and Alex Ngwira was its coach.

Then a new registrar came in at Mzuzu University who said the team was one channel through which the institution was losing revenue which could be used for real academic purposes. He ordered the team to stop using the university’s name and the university’s play ground commonly known as Thengere Stadium. That was the genesis of the team’s financial woes.

It then had to change its name to Mzuzu Warriors and it was run from a few individuals’ pockets. Efforts to clinch sound sponsorship proved futile over the years and eventually players started running away. In the second half of the second round of this season, one would see less that five players on the bench. It is therefore not surprising that Mzuzu Warriors is out of the super league.

As for Chitipa United, the story is similar. Since its birth, the team has been run from the pockets of few individuals. The individuals must however be commended because they managed to mobilise funds and bought a modern bus for the club. They also procured quality replica jerseys which sold like hot cakes. But still the team di not have enough funds to motivate the players or buy more prominent players. It’s good bye Chitipa United!

After relegation of three teams from the league, three are also promoted from each of the three regions. As I write, Sable Farming will be joining the super league from the Southern Region Football Association (SRFA) while Rumphi United is baby that Northern Region Football Association (NRFA) will be presenting to the country’s top flight league. We are yet to get one from the centre.

It will be very vital for Rumphi United officials to do meaningful paper work and convince the corporate world for meaningful sponsorship. Otherwise, their story will be the same as that of Chitipa United, Mzuzu Warriors and Ntopwa FC.

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