The Malawi football scene is not holy as some people think and the scandal in which four referees have been banned for life is just a tip of the iceberg.
Just days after being handed a life ban by National Referees Committee (NRC) for trying to fix a Carlsberg Cup tie between Chitipa United and Nchalo United, second assistant referee Limbani Chisambi has come out in the open to confess that there are intermediaries who receive bribes from team officials to fix games.
NRC banned for life Aziz Nyirenda, assistant referees Chisambi and Stephano Gomani and fourth official Jimmy Phiri for receiving K15 000 from Nchalo United’s officials to try to officiate the game in their favor.
However, things turned sour when officials from Nchalo FC demanded their money back after the club lost the match and when the issue came out to the public, the culprits were handed the permanent bans by their body.
Speaking for the first time after the incident, Chisambi told the state broadcaster MBC that they are just victims as there are others who receive money to fix matches.
“There are people here in Mzuzu who are receiving money on behalf of the referees in order to fix matches. Just recently, a referee, who was not even part of the officiating personnel in a match involving Moyale Barracks and Be Forward Wanderers, got K100 000 from Nomads supporters just to influence the result of the game.
“The ones who are doing this are top officials in the referees’ body and they are aware of this. Surprisingly, we are the ones being the victims here but time will come where the names will be revealed. I did not collect any money from Chitipa and Nchalo game and I am much gutted that my career has ended in this manner,” he told MBC.
NRC’s General Secretary Chris Kalichero was not available for a comment.
Meanwhile, some soccer commentators have questioned the decision to have the four referees banned when Nchalo United who are the main culprits in the saga have been let off the hook.