Written by Melie Chipula Bayani and Dyson Kamwana:
Sports analysts in the country have voiced their concerns regarding the recent decision by the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) concerning the Airtel Top 8 fracas incident involving Mighty Mukuru Wanderers and Silvers Strikers at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe, arguing it is unfair and needs to be reconsidered.
The match ended prematurely in the extra time following a decision by referee, Godfrey Nkhakananga who awarded a goal to the banker’s, seconds after blowing a whistle for a foul. This controversial decision resulted in significant unrest among spectators.
In its determination released on Thursday, FAM has fined Mighty Mukuru Wanderers a total amount of K24 million for among other charges, failing to control its supporters which led to vandalism of property at the facility.
According to FAM, Silver Strikers FC has been awarded a win by a margin of two goals to zero (2-0) after finding the Nomads guilty of causing abandonment of the match following their player’s refusing to continue with play in protest of the referee decision contrary to article 10.3 of the Airtel Top 8 rules and regulations.
Kim Kamau, a sports analyst, said the final fine is excessive, claiming that some of the damages counted were allegedly caused during the Region5 Youth games.
Kamau suggested that FAM should collaborate with stadium authorities to determine the actual number of damaged chairs during the incident, as different numbers have been reported since the match day.
“They need to sit down and map the way forward, otherwise the K22 million is just too much and looking at the tournament itself, the champions will walk away with K17 million,” said Kamau.
Another sports analyst Charles Nyirenda supported Kamau’s views, and added that lack of proper security, such as police presence, contributed to the fracas, saying private security personnel hired for the event were reportedly unable to control the situation effectively.
Nyirenda argued that “Had the police been present, they could have used teargas to disperse the unruly crowd, making it unfair to place the blame solely on Wanderers for failing to control their supporters”.
He therefore called upon FAM to provide a transparent explanation of how they arrived at the final amount and emphasized the importance of improving security measures during major sporting events.
Roosevelt Mpinganjira, Mighty Mukuru Wanderers Chief Executive Officer, requested more time before commenting as they are yet to discuss the FAM’s determination.
Among other charges, FAM has ordered the Lali Lubani based outfit to pay a fine of K500, 000 for being found guilty of failure to take necessary precautions to prevent their supporters from displaying unsporting behavior by throwing objects into the field of play.
Additionally, Wanderers are expected to pay for the costs associated with the repaired restoration of any damaged facilities at Bingu National Stadium which stands at K22, 083,400.00, according to preliminary assessment by BNS management.
FAM also referred referee Godfrey Nkhakananga to the FAM referee’s Committee for review and to take necessary measures regarding his officiating during the match.