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TNM Super League returns after coronavirus break

NBB starts title defence with a draw as Mtopwa FC leads log standings for the first time

Models holding flags embedded with logos of the 16 Super League clubs/ Earthquake images

The 2020/2021 football season, delayed for over six months officially returned to action on 28 November 2020, bringing together multicultural spectators together in stadia across Malawi for the first time in stadia since Februry but this time around under strict Covid-19 guidelines observation.

For the first time in at least five seasons, the 2020/21 football season kicked off with TNM Super League matches, a complete departure from the tradition set by Football Association of Malawi that saw a charity Shield clearing officially opening the football fest.

ECO Bank’s last minute header, spoiled the party as the Charity Shield’s official sponsor announced an abrupt pull out of the 2020/21 football season reopening catalyst due the devastating economic setbacks caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sportbike parade was part of the grand opening of the 2020/21 Super League season/Earthquake images

However, this did not stop the 2020/21 TNM Super League kickoff from commencing with pomp and fanfare at the soccermaker Kamuzu Stadium, the official new season kickoff venue, where a sizable number of spectators, deprived off the beautiful game for the past eight months waited with abated breadth for the resumption of the game.

The stadium burst into wild celebrations as the glamourous Sportbikes trophy parade procession mesmerised the spectators.

In the meantime, the Joyce Banda foundation school going children further lit the stadium with their entertaining dancing antics coupled with stunning acrobatic performances as the beautiful models hosted in the air flags embeded with logos for all the 16 TNM Super League teams, while the defending champions Nyasa Big Bullets and the visiting team Blue Eagles matched on the field of play.

Joy Banda foundation students displaying their acrobatic skills/Earthquake images

TNM Pcl acting Chief Executive Officer Arnold M’bwana, alongside FAM President Walter Nyamilandu, SULOM top officials Malinda Chinyama and Zack Nyirenda among other top officials officially inaugurated the season kickoff by observing a minute of silence in honour of ex-Malawi Queens coach Griffin ‘Zagalo’ Sayenda whose burial ceremony was underway at HHI, a stone throw away from the Kamuzu Stadium.

What eventually followed was a game of two halves with the visitors Blue Eagles dominating first half proceedings while Nyasa Big Bullets controlled the much throughout the second half.

However, both sides lacked creativity in the final third, essentially denying the spectators the much awaited goal Celebrations as the two sides settled for a barren draw.

Nyasa Big Bullets and Blue Eagles in action/Nyasa Big Bullets images

In Chiwembe, Mtopwa FC climbed to the top of the league table for the first time since their promotion to the elite league after beating Moyale Barracks 3-0, courtesy of goals from Mphatso Magaleta, George Nyirenda and Arthur Moffat.

There were also wina for Civil United and Mighty Tigers who  Silver Strikers and TN Stars respectively.

Civo were 2-1 over city rivals Silver Strikers in a Lilongwe derby clash whereas Tigers won with a similar margin against the Kasungu based soccer outfit.

MAFCO FC-Red Lions, Karonga United-Chitipa United as well as Mzuzu Warriors-Be Forward Wanderers matches settled for a point apiece after playing out to a one all draw respectively.

Babatunde Adepoju being challenged by Mzuni FC defender

All sporting activities including football were suspended in early March this year in the wake of the Covid-19 health pandemic outbreak in the country. The suspension took effect on the eve of the 2020 TNM Super League kickoff.

In late September 2020, government lifted the ban due to the sharp decline in new Covid-19 infections and deaths and directed that sports training sessions resumes on the 17 October 2020.

At that time, government further ordered that all sports activities should restart without spectators (the decision was later rescinded) and that players and athletes must first undergo Covid-19 tests.

In the wake of this development, FAM executive committee which met at Chatonda Lodge in Chintheche, Nkhatabay resolved to allocate the USD83,000 (MK 62.2 million) that was earmarked for contingency in the second Phase of FAM COVID-19 Relief Program towards Super League Referees and Match Organization costs.

“On top of giving Super League of Malawi USD20,000 (K15 million) for Operations as well as K10 million to each of the 16 clubs, FAM Executive decided to allocate an extra USD83,000 towards referees and match organization costs,” said FAM General Secretary Alfred Gunda.

The Committee also approved the participation of the Malawi Senior Women’s National team in the COSAFA Women’s Championship scheduled for November in South Africa.

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