Mind games?

Be Forward Wanderers yesterday contradicted Super League of Malawi (Sulom), saying this Saturday’s Blantyre derby against Nyasa Big Bullets will be played at their home Balaka Stadium  and not Bingu National Stadium.

Nomads general secretary Mike Butao yesterday said as the host team, they are entitled to play at their home venue.

“Unless the home team opts for another venue, which we haven’t done, a match is supposed to be played at one’s home ground and we wonder why Sulom fixed the game at BNS without consulting us.

“We are at home and we need to ultilise home ground advantage. Considering the crucial stage the league has reached, our priority is home ground advantage and getting the three points.

“Our budget has been planned for Balaka and any expenses beyond Balaka, then they [Sulom] will advise us,” he said.

Put to him that Sulom are probably looking at the issue of security considering the magnitude and appeal of the showdown, the Nomads GS said: “We play Silver Strikers at Balaka Stadium and, honestly, I do not see the difference between the two fixtures.

“As I said earlier on, our priority now is to have home ground advantage and not how many people will watch the game or how much money we will make for Sulom and others.”

Sulom treasurer Tiya Somba-Banda said they had fixed the match at Bingu Stadium to allow as many people as possible to watch the high-profile match in comfort.

He said: “Unfortunately, Balaka Stadium capacity is very small—just around 7 000. Having the game played there would deny the huge Nomads and Bullets supporters chance to cheer for their teams.”

Reacting to the Nomads’ stand, Bullets general secretary Albert Chigoga said priority should be people’s security.

“Nevertheless, they are the host team and we are waiting to see what they [Wanderers] will agree with Sulom at the end.

“We hope they will come up with a sober decision that will be in the best interest of the game. Balaka Stadium is too small to host a match of such magnitude and there are bound to be nasty incidents such as violence and stampede,” he said.

Chigoga also said the Blantyre Derby cannot be compared to a fixture between either Wanderers and Silver or Bullets and the Bankers.

“We hosted the first round game at BNS because we knew that there is no suitable venue in the Southern Region to host such a big match.”

Saturday’s clash has been billed as a potential league decider.

The Nomads, who lost the first round match 1-0, top the 16-team league with 54 points from 23 games, seven above second-placed Bullets who have a game in hand.

Silver are third with 46 points.

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