Malawi’s veteran football commentator and analyst Steve Liwewe Banda says the level of officiation in local football matches has gone from bad to worse because most of the referees are illiterate.
Since the new season commenced, football officials have complained of poor officiation from the men in black, the latest being the game between Mzuni FC and Moyale Barracks which ended in brawls following the referee’s failure to flash a second yellow card to Moyale goalkeeper MacDonald Harawa who fouled a Mzuni player outside the penalty box when the game was 1-1.
And speaking during a mid-week sports program on MBC, Liwewe Banda attributed the poor level of officiation to lack of knowledge as the rules governing football are written in English and by lawyers.
“The laws of the game are drafted by lawyers and are written in English as such, our referees fail to grasp something out of it because legal terms are all over the documents.
“This has something to do with high levels of illiteracy amongst our referees who have no knowledge at all as far as football rules are concerned and no wonder, they keep on making the same mistakes during matches,” said Liwewe Banda.
He added that passing a fitness test doesn’t mean that the referees are knowledgeable.
“We have seen referees passing fitness tests but have you seen them officiating at African Cup of Nations? When was the last time you saw our referees officiating at Afcon finals? This means that passing the fitness tests doesn’t make them better at all,” he concluded.
During the Blantyre derby last month, referee Leo Goleta was at fault when he wrongly ruled out Nyasa Big Bullets’ goal for offside, a decision that led to running battles between Police and Bullets supporters.
At Mulanje Park, officials from Azam Tigers and Red Lions both complained about poor officiation during a 1-1 draw.
And recently, Tigers and Kamuzu Barracks officials also blasted the officiating personnel for failing to handle their match which ended in a draw.