TNM Super leaders Be Forward Wanderers have made an appeal against Super League of Malawi (Sulom) to have their game against Mzuni FC replayed at a neutral venue accusing the league body of having a bone to pick with Nomads.
On Friday, Sulom ordered for a replay of the match following recommendations from an independent committee which was assigned to look into the matter.
However, Sulom’ decision has been turned down by the league leaders who are very convinced that they deserve all the three points as Mzuni FC, who caused the boycott, never turned up for the match.
In a statement released by Wanderers on Sunday and signed by the team’ General Secretary Mike Butao, Nomads claim SULOM reached the verdict prior to hearing.
“We believe Wanderers was judged before the enquiry took place and the decision to postpone the game was made before the hearing took place and this compromised the enquiry [because] the General Secretary of SULOM apologized to the sponsors for ‘the violence’ in the Daily Times newspaper and when queried in The Nation newspaper said he had to apologize because it is not good when games are ‘postponed'”, reads part of the statement, in which it says the team had lodged official complaints with SULOM on both occasions.
The Nomads have also questioned Sulom’s decision to include in the enquiry Trouble Kalua and Crispin Sibande, who the the team claims to be staunch Nyasa Big Bullets and Silver Strikers supporters respectively despite being this season’s direct competitors.
“We protest against the composition of the enquiry team. Mr. Trouble Kaluwa is a well-known Bullets person. Mr. Crispin Sibande is a Silver Strikers person. Both these teams are our direct competitors for the league title this season being on positions two and three. And curiously issues involving teams to which these two are affiliated have not been addressed at all this season,” claims Nomads.
The team has also faulted SULOM for the verdict, saying the enquiry overstretched its mandate.
“The enquiry that took place should NOT have come up with a verdict. It was just an enquiry to establish what had happened as even the Enquiry chairperson Mr Sado said in his opening remarks. The next course of action should have been to charge the culprits and summon them for a hearing” said Nomads while defending their supporters who are alleged to have caused the pandemonium.
On Mzuni FC’ decision to leave the stadium, the statement said: “Mzuni never reported inside the stadium. Mzuni never even communicated to Sulom that they were leaving the stadium due to lack of security nor did they request additional security. They simply left, totally disregarding the rules and it was now Sulom hunting for Mzuni to get an explanation. Simply put, they did not report for the match and should lose the match.
“The referee blew the whistle to conclude the match. What should have happened is what happens when one team fails to report for the match and the referees blows to conclude the match. Points are given to the team that is present. Wanderers should have been awarded the match. The enquiry should have taken place, if at all, after the match was awarded and after Mzuni protested,” reads part of the statement.
According to Wanderers, there was no evidence that Mzuni FC officials were assaulted as nobody has come forward to testify that indeed the visiting team was assaulted by the home fans.
“Where is the evidence of assault apart from Mzuni submissions? Almost everybody says they did not witness any assault, not even the police. Even the media have been calling it an alleged violence. Most of the submissions are based on hearsay, what the stakeholders heard, not what they saw.
“Football is a crowd game. How can there be assault on a team at the stadium and no stakeholder sees it? Why has the panel taken every word in the Mzuni submission as gospel truth? From their own submission, Mzuni did not even go to the hospital from the stadium. They went to their lodge. It was Mr. Khonje of Sulom who followed them to the lodge and decided for Mzuni that they should go to the hospital.
“We believe we deserve 3 points from this game and we should not be punished for allegations. Mzuni should have asked for extra security and played the game under protest if indeed their claims of violence and intimidation are true. We should not set a precedent that will be hard to verify or to control later,” concluded the statement.