28 October 2016 Last updated at: 9:20 AM
Malawi24 Editorial: National Referees Committee is a disgrace to football development
Of late, there have been many questionable decisions made by referees in the country.
As football officials are busy working out ways to stop hooliganism, they do not seem to see its relationship with the quality of officiating.
Recently, men in black have been at the centre of controversy for their incompetent level of officiation in the TNM Super League, resulting in either ugly scenes of hefty fines to some teams who, instead of following procedures when they feel offended, they act on the spot.
During a Super League match between Epac FC and Max Bullets earlier this month, a goal was scored that left many wondering, forcing the visitors to abandon the match in the 20th minute.
At Mzuzu Stadium, a match between Moyale Barracks and Mafco FC ended on 75th minute due to incompetent officiation from referee George Aziz Nyirenda, who, according to Sulom’ report, has been involved in disputed matches on several occasions.
And on Sunday afternoon, tear gas canisters had to be applied by Malawi Police when angry Nyasa Big Bullets fans were baying for referee Andy Kuseli’s blood following a disastrous officiation when the defending league champions were playing Azam Tigers.
Kuseli was completely out of the game and his decisions from the word go were questionable by officials from both sides. Surprisingly, National Referees Association always comes in defence of its men.
For the past weeks, the body’ General Secretary Chris Kalichero has been telling the local media that his men are always on point but team officials are to blame because they are not familiar with the rules of the game. How else can one look at such glaring errors and still pretend that they are not deliberate?
Instead of addressing the issue, the body is busy defending it’s referees, do you think this will solve the current woes? For how long are we going to see teams suffer by paying hefty fines yet the perpetrators are being left without punishments?
Football is an emotional game, to others is more than a religion. It’s always painful to supporters to see their ‘beloved’ team dropping points not because the team was poor in the field of play, but rather due to some questionable decisions by men in black.
It has been a trend in Malawi where referees decide the result of the game before even kicking off. If match officials cannot do a better job, then we cannot stamp out hooliganism. Teams will continue paying the fines but by the end of the day, our football will never move forward.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) and Sulom must sit down with NRA to try to come up with measures on how best referees can handle matches at the top level.
On the other hand, time has come for the referees committee to punish referees who have been at the centre of controversy for the past years.
We do not condone football hooliganism but, before punishing teams, let us scrutinize and see where the problem is.
The competition in the league has reached a boiling point and if this kind of officiation continues, one day, we will live to regret. NRA should put it’s house in order by producing best referees for the betterment of our football.
If we are to develop, we must start with the referees, team officials and all the key stakeholders in football.