Written by MALAWI NEWS AGENCY
BLANTYRE--Blantyre United were one of the contenders to clinch the 2012-2013 TNM Super League title until last Sunday when they lost miserably to Silver Strikers by 5 goals to nothing bowing out of the race.
A lot has been speculated on the outcome of the match with some soccer lovers claiming there was match fixing. Our sports reporter Arkangel Tembo spared some time to conduct an exclusive interview with Blantyre United Technical Director, Lawson Nakoma to discuss a number of issues on their club.
Arkangel: Afternoon Mr Nakoma, how are you fairing after the 5-0 defeat on Sunday?
Nakoma: Esh! Zovuta madala ( It’s unbelievable) I cannot even believe it up to now, it is like a nightmare that we were hammered with such a margin.
Arkangel: Did you expect to be massacred with such a margin?
Nakoma: Not at all, and let me tell you that as a club, we are investigating, because we feel some players betrayed us. There was no way we could concede such silly goals and even our performance left a lot to be desired.
Arkangel: What are you investigating; l thought a loss is a loss, Mr Nakoma?
Nakoma: We have been tipped that some of our players were behind our downfall after being coxed with cash from some officials from Silver Strikers. I do not understand what really happened because the way l know my players, they couldn’t have lost to Silver Strikers by 5-0, and to make matters worse, this is a team which we were able to defeat in the first round.
Arkangel: How much are we talking here, and if l may ask, do you have any concrete evidence?
Nakoma: We are still investigating but the information we got is that the players were promised K50, 000 each to fix the game. But we also understand that they only got K15, 000 after being promised to receive the rest of the money later.
Arkangel: Did you notice any changes in some of your players before the match?
Nakoma: Most definitely, for instance, on Tuesday one of our senior players (Name withheld) failed to report for training and after being asked, he told us that he was sick and that he had gone to Queen Elizabeth Hospital where he was admitted. However, we sensed something and we rushed to Queen to find out on whether our player was admitted there. I can confirm it with the nation that hospital officials told us they were not aware of the player being hospitalized, meaning he was lying to us.
Arkangel: Did you take any action with this player?
Nakoma: The following day when we tried to call the player, he couldn’t pick up his calls. Come Friday, when we were leaving for Lilongwe to play Silver Strikers, the player was nowhere to be seen. From the information we gathered, it seems this player was used to Cox his colleagues to fix the match.
Arkangel: Before the game in Lilongwe, what did you observe from the accused players?
Nakoma: When we were in the dressing room, before the kick-off of the match, one of the players sat lonely at the corner with his head bowing down. I noted something in this player; I suppose he might have been fighting against his conscious. I don’t know whether he was regretting on his decision or not.
Arkangel: What decision, Mr Nakoma?
Nakoma: According to our reliable source, this player seems to have received his K15, 000 before the match, and in my own opinion, he might have been regretting his decision because from the look of things, he had no peace of mind.
Arkangel: What action are you going to take once the suspected players are found guilty?
Nakoma: We will take tough disciplinary actions which l cannot reveal here, and mark my words, we will unearth every hidden agenda which happened before the match.
Arkangel: What does this mean to Blantyre United?
Nakoma: This is a sad development because at the time when we were supposed to work hard in order to win the title, some players were busy frustrating our ambition. Let me also take this opportunity to assure our fans that they should not get worried because Mphembedzu will remain Mphembedzu no matter what.
Arkangel: How has this affected you as the sponsor of the club to lose with such a margin?
Nakoma: It is more painful because l spend a lot of money, for instance, for the players allowances, game bonuses, transport and accommodation, l spend more than K1million a month. So it is painful to me to spend such money for someone to let the title slip away from us just because of K50, 000 or K15, 000.
Arkangel: What is the way forward now?
Nakoma: Our main focus now, apart from carrying out investigations on the suspected players, we will work hard to win the remaining two games against Azam Tigers and Epac FC to finish the League on a better position.
Arkangel: It has been a pleasure charting with you, Mr Nakoma and all the best to Mphembedzu in your remaining assignments.
Nakoma: Thanks a lot Tembo.