FAM to change Airtel Top 8 format

Football Association of Malawi (FAM) says it is considering changing Airtel Top 8 format to enable teams know their opponents at the end of the season.

Currently, pairings are done through a draw, but once the new format is adopted, TNM Super League champions will play against the club finishing on position eight.

Zakazaka: It is on administrative grounds

Similarly, position two team in the league will play position seven; position three will play position six while position four will play position five.

In the semi-final, a draw will take place to determine which clubs will play against each other and which club will play at home first.

FAM competitions director Gomezgani Zakazaka said the changes, to be implemented in the 2020 season, are aimed at easing administration issues.

“Yes, we are thinking of adopting the format purely on administrative grounds and not necessarily as a way of seeding. It makes life easier for planning purposes if the fixtures are known right after the end of the season, considering that it is the first cup competition of the new season,” he said.

However, Zakazaka said the proposed format is not aimed at seeding big teams.

“It does not guarantee that big guns will not battle it out in the first games. Imagine if Be Forward Wanderers win the league and Bullets finish eighth and Civil Sporting Club are runners-up while Silver finish seventh. It means we will have Blantyre and Lilongwe derbies as first matches as per new format,” he said.

Analysts have since welcomed the idea, saying it will help the clubs prepare well for the competition.

“I think it will sort of help the clubs prepare since they will know their opponents beforehand,” said former Silver Strikers general secretary Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda.

Another analyst, David Kanyenda, said: “From administrative angle, FAM will have less nightmares since teams get to know their opponents right at the end of the season.”

The draw for the 2019 edition was held last week which saw Wanderers paired against Silver while  Mzuzu University (Mzuni) FC will face Civil Sporting Club.

 Another exciting fixture is between rookies TN Stars and Karonga United, who will both be playing in the competition for the first time.

Fireworks are also expected in the quarter-final between Kamuzu Barracks and fast-improving Masters Security.

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