Epac and referee Roy Williams have dismissed Big Bullets’ allegations of bribery in Sunday’s Super League game to ensure Epac’s victory.
However, Epac and the Super League of Malawi (Sulom) have said there was an element of incompetence on the part of Williams.
Epac ended Bullets’ honeymoon in the Super League with a 1-0 win through a penalty which was converted by Jafalie Chande.
Bullets general secretary Harold Fote and coach Elia Kananji said they suspected their opponents bribed the referee.
“It is not that he was incompetent because had he been incompetent, authorities would not have assigned him for such a crucial match. It means they had faith in his abilities, but he was clearly biased and we suspect he should have been palm-oiled.
“The penalty he awarded to Epac was dubious. It should have been our free-kick,” said Fote in an interview yesterday.
Kananji was quoted by Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS), saying: “I do not complain on officiation, but today it has gone overboard. Referee wayenera anapatsidwa kena kake.”
However, Williams and Epac FC owener Dini Josaya-Banda dismissed Bullets claims.
“That is not true and that is what supporters as well as officials say when things have not gone their way,” Williams said in a telephone interview on Monday.
He also refused to comment on the actual on the game in question, saying: “On that I think you should talk to the National Football Referees Committee (NFRC) general secretary because he was there.”
Josaya-Banda dismissed the allegations saying Bullets are just frustrated with the defeat.
“What I can say is that the referee was grossly incompetent and we were not happy with how he handled the game either. Anabalalika zedi. The other problem was that they won the game before it was played, they were boasting that they would beat us 7-0 or 8-0 forgetting that a match is played on the pitch,” said Josaya Banda.
But the Epac patron admitted that there was a lot of tension prior, during and even after the match because of the controversy surrounding the switch of players between the two teams, referring to Pilirani Zonda and Mussa Manyenje who joined Bullets and goalkeeper Owen Chaima who moved to Epac.
“It was a highly temperamental game, but the fact of the matter is that we beat them and it is not the first time we have beaten them,” said Josaya-Banda.
Sulom general secretary Williams Banda also said there was an element of incompetence on the part of the referee.
“Looking at the circumstances, the referee was somehow incompetent and we wonder why he is still being assigned big games because this was the third match this season that complaints about his officiation have been raised,” said Banda.
National Football Referees Committee (NFRC) general secretary Chris Kalichelo said while Williams is one of the reliable referees, he is only human and sometimes “munthu umapunthwa poyerayera. If there were weaknesses in his officiation, we accept responsibility.”
He said the referees body had demanded a report from Williams by noon on Monday.
“The report will help us to determine whether he was wrong or right to award the penalty,” said Kalichelo.