Malawi National Football Team players have apologised to the nation for their poor run of form in the 2022 Fifa Qatar World Cup qualifiers.

The Flames wrapped up their Group D matches with 4-0 and 1-0 losses to Cameroon and Mozambique, respectively.

 

After conclusion of the qualifiers, Malawi anchor the four-team group with three points from six matches.

Flames captain Limbikani Mzava, who scored into his own net to grant Mozambique the narrow win in Benin on Tuesday, said it was unfortunate that they had not given out their best in the qualifiers.

“We are saying sorry to every Malawian. We have not lived up to their expectations and we are apologising. We could have done better for sure. The performance should have been better, especially where we are talking of preparing for the Afcon [Africa Cup of Nations] finals.

“We, as players, we feel bad about the result and we talked to each other about it. We remain hopeful that the losses will not affect our preparations for the Afcon finals. We will now be fully focused on our preparations,” Mzava said.

South Africa-based Flames striker Khuda Muyaba posted an apology on his Facebook page, saying Malawians did not deserve such heartbreaking results.

“We are sorry to all Malawians. We aimed to get the three points today. We were expecting a better game and we are disappointed. We lost to Mozambique and we are sorry.

“Naturally, we are very sorry right now but it doesn’t mean we will not be ready for the Afcon tournament in January in Cameroon. We will give it our all. Sorry Malawi and we need your support,” Muyaba said.

The Flames have now lost four consecutive matches, with eight defeats in the 10 matches that the team has played recently.

Football Association of Malawi President Walter Nyamilandu said the team learnt tough lessons from the qualifiers.

“The manner in which we lost some of the matches gave us painful experiences. The glimmer of hope that we started with fizzled out as the tournament progressed. We didn’t expect to be bottom of the table or lose four matches in a row. The boys are hurting and we are disappointed.

“We always knew it was going to be a tough road but we planned to come out stronger. Unfortunately, we missed an opportunity of defeating one of the giants. The loss against Mozambique has just made matters worse because we had high hopes of salvaging the situation,” Nyamilandu said.

He said the team would spare a moment to reflect on how to cope in Cameroun by building on positives and correcting its weaknesses.

“Some soul-searching is needed. We have to regroup with renewed energy and think about how we can step up to the plate. We needed to rise to the occasion by displaying extraordinary performances so that we could close the gap.

“Having said that, I am sure our participation in the qualifiers has not been in vain. The players have been toughened up. They have tasted the heat and will come back stronger,” Nyamilandu.

Cameroon qualified for the 10-team play-offs that will decide which five teams will represent Africa in Qatar next year after edging Ivory Coast 1-0 to finish top of the group.

The Flames are expected to arrive from Benin today.

Source: The Times Group

The Zimbabwe Football Association has described the suspension of the ZIFA board by the Sport and Recreation Commission as unlawful adding that they will approach the world football governing body, FIFA on the way forward.

The ZIFA board was suspended this Tuesday after being accused of gross incompetence by the Sport and Recreation Commission (SRC).

However, the football authorities are not going down with a fight.

Their argument is simple: the suspension is a clear violation of FIFA statutes and the whole process is unlawful as they were not given a chance to respond.

“It is unlawful and uncalled for. SRC does not have the mandate to suspend ZIFA on incompetence because they are not the employer. The counsellors are the employer, then also they are suspending us based in section 30, which gives them the power to do so, but they did not even hear our side of the story. So, how do you suspend someone without hearing their side of the story? Looking at the charges, they all do not hold ground and do not stand,” ZIFA legal advisor Chenaimoyo Gumiro said.

While the general sentiments are that Zimbabwean football is not being run properly, stakeholders agree the suspension of the ZIFA board is not the best move.

“In thinking that we want to build let’s be careful of destroying the foundation that is there. This is not a good move. The SRC was supposed to engage all stakeholders in football and map a way forward, and also engage the counselors who are the appointing authority. Let’s not destroy football because of ZIFA. Football is more than ZIFA. Football is for Zimbabwe and how many Zimbabweans are we disadvantaging with this move?” noted Manica Diamonds founding member, Dr Newton Dhemba,

Farpost Magazine (SA) editor Mthokozisi Dube said: “We don’t learn and we seem to be making same mistakes of the past. We know how this ends. Chad was recently suspended for the same issues and FIFA is clear on how they operate, so, this move was bad and is bad for the country.”

Meanwhile, impeccable sources confirmed to ZBC News that the SRC is contemplating a major U-turn on the ban.

Source: ZBC News

Veteran golfer FAUSTIN KABWE says young people should be brought on board to participate in golf tournaments if the country is to produce high skilled Athletes in the sport.

KABWE says Zambia has talented golfers but most of them lack exposure and financial support which is a negative bearing in the growth of the sport.

He says with the majority of the country’s population comprising the youth, there is need to implement training programmes that will strategically groom golfers for local and international competitions.

KABWE who was part of the golfers that took part in the 2021 Insurers Association of Zambia -IAZ- Golf tournament sponsored by SAVENDA GROUP of Companies held at the Bonanza golf club in Lusaka was speaking to ZNBC news.

He said corporate entities should channel some of their resources towards youth development in golf as that will empower a lot of young people.

The Lusaka native who has been playing Golf for over 40 years has also observed the need to upgrade most golf courses in the country.

And Insurers Association of Zambia -IAZ- President CHRISTABEL BANDA said she is impressed with the turnout of golfers at this year’s tournament.

BANDA said the tournament is aimed at strengthening corporate ties, enhancing social economic development and promoting healthy lifestyle among the participants.

Over 50 golfers turned up for the corporate golf tournament.

Source: ZNBC

Having scored Ben Malango was substituted off the pitch in the 90th minute of DR Congo's 2-0 win over Benin in a World Cup qualifier

Fifa has confirmed it has received an official protest from the Benin Football Federation (FBF) over its 2-0 loss to DR Congo in World Cup qualifying.

"Fifa has received a complaint from the Benin FA in relation to this matter and will review it," football's world governing body said in a statement.

"As per standard procedure, Fifa first needs to analyse the relevant match report reports before commenting. Please understand we cannot comment further at this stage."

The appeal is about the fact that DR Congo made four substitutions on four separate occasions during Sunday's qualifier.

Under current Fifa regulations for international games teams are allowed to make up to five substitutes but only during three windows in the game.

DR Congo won the tie 2-0 to progress to the African World Cup play-offs as winners of Group J instead of Benin, who had needed a draw in Kinshasa in order to advance.

"It is an appeal regarding the obvious violation of the laws of the game by the DRC," Benin's Sports Minister Oswald Homeky told BBC Sport Africa on Tuesday.

"The number and moments of replacement of players during a match is well known. The rules of the game are clear on that matter, and so we have a case here.

"The Benin Football Federation have asked Fifa to draw the conclusions and take the relevant measures of this obvious violation of the rules."

According to the match report on the Fifa website DR Congo made their first change in the 63rd minute, when they were leading 1-0. A further two substitutions were made after the second goal in the 77th and then 84th minutes before a final replacement came on in injury time at the end of the match.

Source: BBC

Chipolopolo have wrapped up their failed Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign with a 3-1 loss against Tunisia in the final Group B match.

Tunisia disturbed Zambia with three first half goals at Stade Hammadi Arebi on Tuesday night.

The Carthage Eagles have advanced to the final qualifying round on 13 points after completing a double over Zambia.

After early misses, Tunisia opened the scoring through Aissa Laidouni in the 18th minute.

Forward Mohamed Drager doubled Tunisia’s lead on 31 minutes before Ali Maaloul added the third goal in the 43 minute.

Minutes earlier keeper Toaster Nsabata saved a penalty to keep the score line less.

Zambia put up an improved display in the second half that saw Fashion Sakala score the consolation goal after 80 minutes.

Sakala scored a rebound from the penalty he missed when Patson Daka was fouled in the box.

Meanwhile, Mauritania have beaten Equatorial Guinea 1-0 at home to deny their rivals a chance to advance.

This was Mauritania’s first win of the campaign.

Equatorial Guinea finishes second in Group B on ten points followed by Zambia on seven points and bottom placed Mauritania earned four points in the six-match round.

Source: Lusaka Times

Zimbabwe's participation in next year's Africa Cup of Nations is in danger after the board of its football association (Zifa) was suspended by the country's government-appointed Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) with immediate effect.

Football's world governing body Fifa disapproves of governmental interference in the running of member associations and has banned countries from all forms of football as a result in the past.

"This decision has been considered following several incidents of gross incompetence on the part of Zifa contrary to the national interest," said SRC chair Gerald Mlotshwa.

The reasons given for the ban include alleged sexual harassment of female referees by technical staff and allegations of fraud.

The Felton Kamambo-led Zifa board is yet to respond to the suspension, which comes two days after the men's national team ended their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign with a 1-1 home draw against Ethiopia.

Zimbabwe finished bottom of Group G, which also included Ghana and South Africa, with two points from six games.

The SRC, a statutory body mandated to regulate and develop sport and recreation in Zimbabwe, also detailed other reasons for the suspension including alleged mismanagement and lack of accountability in the use of public funds.

"We are prepared in many respects for whatever might happen," Mlotshwa added.

"If Fifa decides to ban Zimbabwean football we are prepared for that. If it does happen we look at it being a short-term measure.

"Zimbabwean football needs this opportunity just to fix itself - if we are out of international football for a year, two years, that's fine. If we are suspended from Afcon next year we are prepared for that, that is fine, we need to deal with football."

The SRC took similar action in 2019 with Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC), setting up an interim leadership and receiving a three-month suspension from the International Cricket Council (ICC).

The ICC readmitted ZC after the reinstatement of the board.

SRC board member Karen Mutasa is hoping for a more positive outcome this time.

"We would hope that Fifa would want to see the evidence that's presented to them and that they would work with us to build football in Zimbabwe, and even to assist with appointing an interim committee," she said.

Source: BBC

The Video Assistant Referee -VAR- technology will be implemented in all MTN Super league games effective next year.

Football Association of Zambia -FAZ-President ANDREW KAMANGA says the introduction of VAR will go a long way in addressing match officiating challenges in local football.

KAMANGA says the association has been working in the background to introduce modern technology that will enhance match officiating.

He has also disclosed the Global Positioning System -GPS- will be deployed in the Super and National Division One leagues so that the Clubs can be abreast with modern technology to help them compete.

KAMANGA says his administration will ensure it rolls out the use of modern technology so that Zambia remains competitive on the international stage.

He further says technology will be first rolled out to the Super League, after which it will be implemented in other leagues.

KAMANGA said this in Lusaka today during the opening of the FIFA Goalkeeper coaching course.

 

Source: ZNBC

Former Professional Boxing Champion ESTHER PHIRI says lack of experienced trainers will affect Zambia’s World ranking in the sport.

PHIRI says there is an unprecedented poor performance among Women boxers in international fights due to lack of exposure and trained coaches.

The Former Women’s International Boxing Association -WIBA – Welterweight World Champion says there is need to integrate former boxers in the training of Athletes for international bouts.

She told ZNBC Sports News that retired Professional Boxers have a lot to offer the new generation and must be brought on board if Zambia is to regain dominance on the world stage.

PHIRI has recounted that during her prime years in the ring, her coach used to bring experienced opponents which helped her gain confidence ahead of international bouts.

She said the same needs to be done for current boxers if they are to win and attract major international bouts.

Source: ZNBC

The circus surrounding Broadcasting TV rights took a new twist yesterday after Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) obtained a court order restraining Football Association of Malawi (Fam) from continuing with awarding of contracts.

The order stops Fam from awarding contracts to Mibawa Studios as content producer and Zuku Television as the live football broadcaster in the country.

“Pending determination of the substantive matter, the defendant BE and is HEREBY restrained whether by itself, its servants, agents or assignees or through whomsoever from allowing Mibawa Television or any other company, firm or person(s) to be the Pay TV Football Host/Content Producer through Zuku TV and/or any other media platform,” part of the court order reads.

MBC Director General George Kasakula said they did not wish to disrupt Malawians from watching football in the country but justice must be followed.

“We don’t intend to take football away from people but rather give them a wider coverage on television and us, as a national broadcaster, who also did a bidding in the production of live football coverage, reportedly did well. Surprisingly, Fam decided to award the contract to another company. We are not happy, we would like the courts to do their job,” Kasakula said.

Fam Commercial Director Limbani Matola did not pick up his phone despite numerous efforts.

But the association released a statement, saying it was unable to televise yesterday’s and today’s Airtel Top 8 Cup games due to the court injunction.

“Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) has obtained an injunction restricting our content producer, Mibawa Studios from producing any football matches and our host content broadcaster.

“We are working hard to make sure that we resolve this as soon as possible,” reads part of the statement.

Zuku TV Country Director Elias Dziko could also not be reached for a comment.

However, Mibawa Television Chief Executive Officer John Nthakomwa said he was saddened by the development.

“My first reaction is that this is a sad development that Malawi has chosen to continue going backwards. This was an opportunity for teams and Fam and Sulom [Super League of Malawi] to start making some money out of the game.

“My team (staff) was already in Dwangwa ready to beam the game but we did not proceed because of the court order,” Nthakomwa said.

Kasakula challenged that MBC had the capacity to produce and televise football games live despite the busy schedule.

“We are in the process of opening a second television channel which gives us a better and viable position to beam football matches,” he said.

Lawyer David Kanyenda of Makiyi and Kanyenda Associates is representing MBC.

Source: The Times Group

……………….

Roberto Martinez's men face Wales in their final group game on Tuesday but went through with a game to spare.

Crystal Palace striker Christian Benteke tapped in on 11 minutes after Estonia goalkeeper Matvei Igonen spilled Yannick Carrasco's low cross.

Carrasco smashed a stunning 25-yard drive into the top corner and Thorgan Hazard curled in a delightful third.

Erik Sorga had pulled Estonia back to 2-1 but the visitors were thoroughly outclassed and were fortunate not to concede more goals.

Benteke headed against the post after scoring and Kevin de Bruyne saw a free-kick superbly tipped onto the post by goalkeeper Igonen.

Wales had already secured their play-off spot by winning their Nations League group last year and moved up to second in World Cup qualifying Group E with a convincing 5-1 win over Belarus.

Source: BBC