Ndirande-based team Mitra Icons were on the verge of being demoted last season from Malawi’s second tier football league, the Premier Division and even were just about to disband due to financial constraints but today, they are leading this season’s log table at 26 points from 12 games.
This has come about after they were rescued by Malawi’s market research company, Market Insights Tracking (Mitra), which took over sponsorship in a bid by the company’s founder Albert Chigoga, who has the desire to run the team, formely known as Ndirande Icons, as a professional entity to fight all the way into the top flight TNM Super League.
They survived relegation and disbandment in the 2015/16 season but after this season’s eight games in the Master Security-sponsored league, they reached the fourth position with 16 points from eight games.
Four games later, they are leading the pack of 22 teams on goal aggregate after tying with MDF Marine on 26 points. Mitra Icons have a goal difference of 11 while the Marines have nine. On third position with the same points are Chikwawa United with a goal difference of eight.
Mitra travel to Mulanje on Sunday to meet Fomo FC at Chitakale while the Marines date Chikwawa United at Chikwawa on Saturday.
If Chikwawa and MDF Marine draw and Mitra Icons win in Mulanje, they will cement their top spot by two points.
Other contenders for the top spot to see them promoted into the top flight TNM Super League are 4th-placed Cobbe Barracks, who have 25 points but they don’t have a game this weekend while 5th-placed Blantyre United with 24 points host Mangochi Police (position 9 with 18 points) at the astro turf of Chiwembe’s Mpira Village on Saturday.
On 22 points and on position 6 are Nchalo United, who host 14th-placed Mighty Be Forward Wanderers Reserves at Kalulu.
Seventh-placed Zomba United have 21 points who don’t have a game this weekend. The three Uniteds — Blantyre, Nchalo and Zomba are former TNM Super League contestants, who eye the return to Malawi’s top flight league.
Thanks to the sponsorship from Mitra, the team’s administrator and coach, Fletcher Chirwa, now eyes a spot in the top flight league to reward the sponsor’s ambition to help the team reach greater heights.
The sponsor Chigoga believe Icons are ambitious and resilient and sees nothing stopping the team from achieving the dream of qualifying into the Super League.
“I decided on sponsoring Ndirande Icons because it is a team full of blossoming talent with mostly young people from Ndirande, the location in which I grew up. My vision in sports is very great. I would like to run Mitra Icons as a professional entity despite it participating in the second tier of Malawi football.
“This team will fight all the way into the Super League and I see nothing stopping us from achieving this dream. We are providing the team with equipment, game bonuses, transport, and everything required for a football team to flourish,” said Chigoga, who is now the chairman of the club.
Mitra has also provided a practising medical practitioner as a team doctor and it will also pay the coaching staff and meet the needs of players when brought to the sponsor’s attention.
Coach Fletcher Chirwa has been running the club since it started in 2002 and former Flames striker Heston Munthali helps as a technical advisor.
The following are the Premier Division log table and fixtures:
P GD Pts
1. Mitra Icons 12 11 26
2. MDF Marine 13 9 26
3. Chikwawa Utd 13 8 26
4. Cobbe Barracks 12 7 25
5. Blantyre Utd 13 15 24
6. Nchalo Utd 14 7 22
7. Zomba Utd 12 10 21
8. BNC Produsak 13 8 19
9. Mangochi Police 10 6 18
10. Bvumbwe 12 1 18
11. Michiru Madrid 12 -5 18
12. Prison Utd 12 -1 17
13. Changalume 14 -2 16
14. Beforward RSV 8 3 15
15. Fomo 13 -4 15
16. White Eagles 12 2 14
17. Poly FC 11 -4 13
18. Chanco FC 12 -15 13
19. Hardknockers 13 -10 9
20. Matamando 14 -24 8
21. Nyambadwe Jnrs 13 -15 5
22. Nyasa Utd 6 -8 3
Chikwawa Utd v MDF Marine @ Chikwawa
Nchalo Utd v Beforward Reserves @ Kalulu
Hardknockers v Nyasa Utd @ Police
BNC Produsak v White Eagles @ BAT
Blantyre Utd v Mangochi Police @ Chiwembe
Matamando v Chikwawa Utd @ Pirimiti
Beforward Reserve v MDF Marine @ Kamuzu12.00
Nyasa Utd v Prison Utd @ BAT
BNC Produsack v Bvumbwe Research @ BAT12.30
Michiru Madrid v Mangochi Police @ Chiwembe
Fomo v Mitra lcons @ Chitakale
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