Southern Region Football Association (SRFA) has set up a committee to investigate match-fixing allegations in the Chitetezo Mbaula SRFA Premier League.
SRFA chairperson Raphael Humba told The Nation yesterday that with the battle for ultimate glory getting hotter in the second-tier league, they have received complaints and claims that some of the current title contenders pay some out-of-title-contention outfits to deliberately forfeit games against some top-six teams.
“We got wind that the logic behind all this is that when a game is forfeited, a team in serious title contention should only get a 2-0 bonus win, as per the rules, and denied a chance of scoring more goals,” he said.
Therefore, Humba said, the establishment of the investigation committee is part of taking serious precautionary measures to nip the malpractice in the bud, if it is indeed happening.
“We know there might be some elements of truth in these allegations and we cannot tolerate that. There cannot be smoke without fire,” he said.
However, Humba, who said the investigation team will hold its first meeting this Friday, could not disclose the names of individuals in the committee for fear of jeopardising the investigation.
He also warned that teams, which will not turn up for their fixtures without giving proper reasons within 48 hours prior to match day, will be fined K50 000 per game and if the tendency persists, they will be chopped from the league and will not be allowed to compete in the 2019 season.
Leaders Ntopwa FC were expected to take on 14th-placed Fomo FC on Monday but the latter did not turn up for the encounter, giving Ntopwa a 2-0 bonus win and three points. A similar scenario occurred last Thursday when 15th-placed Mangochi Challengers failed to honour their fixture against fourth-positioned Nyasa Big Bullets.
Meanwhile, Ntopwa lead the 22-team log-table with 86 points from 38 games while Hangover and Cobbe Barracks are second and third from 38 and 39 game, respectively, after tying on 82 points. Bullets Reserves are fourth on 79 points from 35 matches. Mangochi United are fifth on 74 points whereas MDF Marines are sixth on 73 points. Both have played 37 games each.
While welcoming the idea of coming up with the committee, Ntopwa owner Isaac ‘Jomo’ Osman and Bullets Reserves coach Enos Chatama argued the development has come late.
“Why is this committee being established now after Fomo failed to honour a fixture against us yet nothing of that sort happened when Fomo forfeited a game against Eshan Wizards last week? Nevertheless, as Ntopwa, we will just keep on playing our games because our main focus is on developing talents,” he said.
On his part, Chatama said: “The idea to investigate the allegations is welcome because this will help to have a deserving and strong team in the getting promoted into the top-flight league. In the past, some teams could possibly earn Super League promotion on silver platter and this is probably the reason the number of Southern Region teams dwindled from six to four within the past three seasons.”