Silver Strikers win Malawi league as season finally ends

By Frank KanduBBC Sport, Blantyre
Tear gas at the stadium in Balaka

The Malawi league season finally concluded on Tuesday when Silver Strikers beat Mighty Wanderers in Blantyre to win the title.

Wanderers hosted Strikers behind closed doors in a fixture rearranged after their 28 December game was abandoned because of crowd violence.

The clubs only agreed to a replay once they successfully appealed against bans they were given after the trouble.

Strikers won 2-1 to clinch their third consecutive TNM Super League title.

The match brought to an end a prolonged season that was much delayed following the abandonment of the original fixture after 61 minutes when violence broke out and one fan was killed, with 20 more supporters injured.

In its original verdict, the Super League of Malawi disciplinary committee suspended Silver Strikers for eight months and fined them $6640.00, while Mighty Wanderers were been banned for five months and fined $1620.00.

After both clubs refused to replay the game and twice appealed to the Football Association of Malawi (FAM), Strikers' penalty was changed to the docking of nine points for the start of next season and Wanderers were docked six points.

Silver, who needed only a point to win the title, secured victory on Tuesday with goals by Ndaziona Chatsalira and Green Harawa, with Wanderers scoring an 80th-minute consolation through Timothy Chitedze.

FAM general secretary Suzgo Nyirenda said: "This marks the end of the season. It is sad that we are ending the league today when we should have been preparing for the next season set to kick off early April.

"Football is meant to be enjoyed by fans and today the match that decided the title was played behind closed doors. We had to do this to show not only the sponsors but everyone that violence is bad and what happened in Balaka should not be repeated."

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