Age-cheating in Malawi is refusing to die such that some sports teachers in secondary schools in Zomba City have raised the alarm to the South East Education Division (Seed) manager McGregory Alufandika over the matter.
The teachers argue that, if not checked, the situation will undermine football development in secondary schools in the division in particular; and in the Malawi Schools Sports Association (Massa) in general.
This comes in the wake of reports that some secondary schools which are represented by top Massa officials are being â€˜favouredâ€™ in competitions in the division.
Â A letter dated May 22 2012 signed by James Majamanda and Lawrence Mchilima addressed to the division manager and copied to head teachers of Malindi, Likangala, Zomba Catholic, Police and Zomba Urban secondary schools in the city, cited use of overage players in this yearâ€™s Under-17 Airtel Rising Stars and Copa Coca-Cola tournaments.
The letter reads in part: “We have observed use of overage players in Under-17 football trophies, use of non-school-going boys, favouring of some schools which are represented by top officials of Massa and use of already developed Super League football players in secondary school football.”
The letter claims that Likangala Secondary School was â€˜deliberatelyâ€™ allowed to use an overage and non-school-going player in the Airtel Rising Stars Under-17 tournament for Zomba City Schools finals last weekend.
But the concerned teachers did not disclose the identity of the player in question.
Likangala eventually qualified for the divisional finals following their 1-0 win over Zomba Urban CDSS in the boys category.
The concerned teachers further argue that the development is against the objectives, goals and goodwill of government and the sponsors, which emphasises developing players from the grass roots.
Likangala sports teacher Damiano Chiona has, however, described the claim as baseless and aimed at destroying the good image of his school.
“I can tell you that all the procedures on screening the players before each game were followed in the presence of the concerned schoolsâ€™ sports teachers,” he said.
In an interview on Monday, Alufandika confirmed receiving the letter.