Flames coach Kinnah Phiri on Thursday tore into the Super League of Malawi (Sulom) for turning its back on his proposal to postpone weekend games ahead of the national soccer teamâ€™s trip to Liberia en route to Ghana for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations final qualification round first leg.
The Flames are scheduled to leave the country on Sunday for Liberia.
Kinnah had no kind words for the flagship league body and accused it of putting their interests ahead of national cause.
However, Sulom president Innocent Bottomani said they would not postpone the games as they are already facing a race against time on the fixtures. Sulom has lined up four league games this weekend.
“My feeling is that FAM should meet Sulom and negotiate for the postponement of the games.
“But if Sulom insists that the games will still go ahead, then fine let them go ahead with the games. The problem is that Sulomâ€™s interest is only about making money from gate-takings, they care less about the national team.
“There are some people who think the national team is my personal thing when in fact it is for the nation and it is very frustrating because in other countries, priority is given to the national team, but that is not the case here,” fumed Kinnah.
Nevertheless, Kinnah said he will reluctantly release players to feature for their respective teams.
“But let me emphasise that those [players] that will choose to play for their clubs will be left behind and it will not matter even if we travel with 15 players,” he warned.
However, Bottomani described the national coachâ€™s outburst as unfortunate.
“Much as we appreciate his concern, what has to be borne in mind is that already, we are behind schedule in as far as our calendar is concerned because of other competitions.
“National team engagements are of paramount importance to all of us, but we cannot afford to postpone the games as we are against time. If anything, the games will also help national team players in terms of preparations,” said Bottomani.
Apparently, FAM seemed to throw its weight behind Sulom on the issue.
FAM chief executive officer Suzgo Nyirenda said: “Does he [the national coach] mean to say the Presidential Cup finals should also be postponed?
“He needs to understand that it is a tricky situation. Anyway, I will wait for his official communication on the matter and then weâ€™ll take it up from there.”
On Saturday, Mighty Wanderers face Escom United in Balaka while Blantyre United will take on Kabwafu in Nchalo in league games. On the same afternoon, Big Bullets will face Moyale Barracks in a Presidential Cup final.
And on Sunday, there will be two Super League games with Red Lions taking on Blue Eagles in Balaka whereas Silver Strikers will host Mafco at Silver Stadium.