Fired Azam Tigers captain Mapopa Msukwa boycotted a TNM Super League game against Red Lions on New YearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Day in retaliation to coach Leo MpululaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s decision to strip him of the captaincy.
But Mpulula on Monday tore into Msukwa accusing him of feeling bigger than the club, warning that stern disciplinary measures will follow.
Two other key midfieldersÃ¢â‚¬â€Kondwani Lufeyo and Mike KaziputaÃ¢â‚¬â€also failed to show up as the Kau-Kau boys suffered their second successive loss (3-1) to the Reds, but Mpulula defended the two insisting that they were recuperating from malaria.
The no nonsense Tigers mentor said he is not going to be seduced by lofty reputations.
“I do not regret my decision [to remove Mapopa as captain]. It was a decision that was made with the blessing of the technical director [Robin Alufandika].
“No player should be bigger than the club. It is that type of attitude that we need to stamp out,” said Mpulula, sounding ice-cool.
He added: “Mapopa only sent me a text saying he would not show up, adding: Ã¢â‚¬ËœI wish your captains all the bestÃ¢â‚¬â„¢. I felt that was not proper. As for the other two playersÃ¢â‚¬â€Kondwani and KaziputaÃ¢â‚¬â€they were sick whereas Charles Ngosi was shown a red card after the game against Moyale last week. He was, therefore, not eligible for the Lions game.”
Mpulula also said the technical panel will meet to map the way forward regarding MapopaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s conduct.
“But I am on a serious rebuilding drive, so even if he and, indeed others, choose not to come, I will not be moved. To me, discipline is paramount,” he said.
Mapopa, could not be reached for his comment.
Together with his deputies Lufeyo and Lumbani Munthali, they were axed after failing to show up for an urgent meeting following the teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 6-3 loss to Moyale.
Gerald Chimbaka has since stepped into MapopaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s boots as the new skipper. He is being assisted by John Dzimbiri Jnr.
The Kau-Kau boys had New Year blues. They went down to the revitalised soldiers who were two-up at interval through goals from Chimwemwe Gundampanda and Steve Ziba. Pearson Mphanje sealed the win with a second-half strike, but Evance Napolo scored the consolation for Kau-Kau.
Following the win, Lions have climbed to seventh position with 37 points from 25 games whereas Tigers are on eighth with 34 points from 24 games.