The 2016 TNM Super League will kick off on April 9 with the usual pomp and ceremony that is accorded with it courtesy of the sponsors.
But first there will be qualification play offs on March 11 to 13 between three teams that were relegated after last season — Wizards, Dedza Young Soccer and Airborne Rangers — to determine one team that will make the league into an even number of 16.
However, Super League of Malawi (Sulom) is still consulting its stakeholders on how best to implement the process of adding the 16th team even after an executive committee meeting held last Friday resolved to have the play offs to fulfil an agreement made by the teams at their annual general meeting last November.
It will even be very interesting to see what will be the way forward because the winners of the play offs might not be eligible to participate in the TNM Super League if they do not meet the Caf Club Licensing System, whose cut off point is March 12.
Sulom general secretary Williams Banda said they have not yet processed any player transfers between the clubs though there have been lots of reports of some clubs eyeing some players to boost up their teams.
One player who has hit the headlines recently is a Japanese Genki Nakamura, who is on trials with Mighty Wanderers whose performance impressed the fans in training at Kamuzu Stadium.
Meanwhile, the Sulom general secretary says they would be very happy if MDC Stadium was released to be used for competitive matches.
So far, Sulom has started stadium inspections in readiness for the kick off. Banda said Mzuzu Stadium, which had been too idle in the off season, is currently being maintained to meet the kick off date.
Banda said they would wait for Fam’s decision on whether the facility would be open for competitive matches after Surestream Petroleum has closed the football academy it had been running in the past four years at MDC Stadium.
The Chilomoni-based Surestream Football Academy, that produced one exciting team Wizards, has been closed and will be given back to Fam.
In a press statement issued on Monday, February 22, the Academy’s Managing Director K. Robinson the main reasons for the closure was that Surestream Petroleum is no longer the operator of the licence for any oil exploration blocks in Malawi and also coupled with the ever decreasing price of oil in the world markets.
The facility is in an excellent condition than four years ago as Surestream invested well in excess USD250,000 (close to K200 million) in its restoration and upkeep.
MDC Stadium was home to MDC United, one of the best teams in the top flight football league.
MDC United, the Soccer Saints, produced top class players such as Brian Malowe Ndau, Gerald ‘Yellowman’ Phiri, Dave Banda, Chiza Nyirongo, Frank Sinalo, Lovemore Fazili, Kachibowo Malunga, John Dzimbiri, Hendrix Banda and many others.
After the government-owned Malawi Development Corporation (MDC) pulled out its sponsorship and was subsequently liquidated , the facility was handed over to Fam by the government, which in turn leased it off to Surestream Petroleum to be converted into an academy.
Surestream indeed transformed it into a state-of-the-art football facility but solely for the development of young talent and not to be used as a competitive match stadium as was before.