Cup hullabaloo: Fam, Wanderers tussle over Airtel Top 8 fixture

By Mabvuto Kambuwe and Peter Fote. Football Association of Malawi has disclosed that the Airtel Top 8 second leg quarter final match between Mighty Mukuru Wanderers and Silver Strikers will go ahead at Kamuzu Stadium today as planned. Fam Competitions and Communications Director Gomezgani Zakazaka confirmed that they have resolved that the match should…

By Mabvuto Kambuwe and Peter Fote

Football Association of Malawi (Fam) has disclosed that the Airtel Top 8 second leg quarter final match between Mighty Mukuru Wanderers and Silver Strikers will go ahead at Kamuzu Stadium today as planned.

However, Wanderers remain unmoved, insisting that they will not honour the fixture.

This is despite that Fam is insisting that this was in accordance with Article 8.5 and 8.6 of the competition’s rules and regulations.

Ironically, Wanderers had requested that they postpone the fixture until the matter is resolved.

In a statement released in the morning yesterday, Wanderers expressed dissatisfaction with the decision of the association’s disciplinary committee to uphold in its entirety the ruling of the competitions and marketing committee, which found the club guilty of three charges.

However, Fam, in its response to Wanderers yesterday, insisted that the match would go ahead.

Fam Competitions and Communications Director Gomezgani Zakazaka confirmed that they have resolved that the match should be played. “It is game on,” Zakazaka said in a brief response.

The Nomads were charged for causing abandonment, bringing the game of football into disrepute in line with Article 13 of the Fifa Disciplinary Code and failing to control actions of their supporters.

The committee fined Wanderers K24 million and also ruled that Silver Strikers won the tie by 2-0 margin.

The statement from Wanderers indicated that the team’s board met on December 4 2023 and resolved to appeal the verdict.

According to the statement, the board observed that the determination was not made in the spirit of fair play, having noted that the cause of the matter is the bad decision by referee Godfrey Nkhakananga.

“The board is dismayed with the fact that both Fam’s Competitions and Fam’s Disciplinary Committees do not take cognisance that the referee is the root cause of the challenges at hand,” the statement reads.

However, there was no immediate reaction from Wanderers as we went to press yesterday.

Silver spokesperson Willard Chakanika said the team was ready for the match.

“We have been waiting for the match and we are already in Blantyre,’’ he said.

The winner between Silver and Wanderers will face Mafco in the semi-final slated for this weekend at a venue yet to be confirmed.

Silver are already in Blantyre for the second leg, three days after they drew 1-1 with FCB Nyasa Big Bullets in the decisive title match on Sunday at the same venue.

Bullets booked their third straight Airtel Top 8 Cup place after beating Blue Eagles 3-2 two weeks ago.

Wanderers are the defending champions after beating Bullets 5-3 on post-match penalties after a goal-less stalemate in regulation time.

Meanwhile, Wanderers insist that they will honour the fixture only if disputes surrounding the first leg are settled.

In a letter signed by the team’s legal adviser Chancy Gondwe, who doubles as board secretary, said Wanderers will only play the match on the condition that Fam settles the dispute.

Gondwe added that their notice of appeal on the matter has already been made clear to Fam.

He asked Fam to refrain from “intimidating” Wanderers to play the game.