13 September 2017

Malawi: Ekwendeni Utd Fans Assault Referees, Journalist

Referee James Chisunkha and one of his assistants were heavily assaulted by Ekwendeni United fans last Saturday at Ekwendeni CCAP Ground where Ekwendeni United was hosting Fish Eagles in the Simama Premier League under the Northern Region Football Association (NRFA).

Reports reaching Nyasa Times indicate that Ekwendeni United were the first to score a goal in the 20th minute. Fish Eagles leveled the scores four minutes later.

In the 27th minute, Eagles scored their second goal. Ekwendeni United fans were furious with the officiating personnel for letting the goal count, claiming it was scored from an off side position.

When referee Chisunkha was getting ready to resume the match, one of his assistants was severely injured on the leg with a metal object and raised his flag to announce that he could not continue discharging his duties due to the severe injury.

Some members of the Northern Region Referees Committee that were present at the venue arrived at a decision to abandon the game. This is when Ekwendeni United fans began beating Chisunkha heavily with bottles and had to be rushed to hospital after sustaining severe cuts in the head.

The same fans went on to assault a journalist, Mike Lyson Zgambo, confiscating and damaging his digital camera, Canon 16 Pixes and 16 GB flash disc in the process.

Zgambo, who is member of the Sports Writers Association of Malawi (SWAM), sustained a deep cut on his lower lip.

Meanwhile, the Northern Region Referees Committee has written the Northern Region Football Association that they will not officiate any game involving Ekwendeni United.

In the letter seen by Nyasa Times, signed by General Secretary Clement Kanduku, the committee further states that no referee will be assigned to take charge of any Simama League match at Ekwendeni. As such games involving Ekwendeni Hammers should rescheduled to other venues.

"The region learnt with regret that sentiments that contributed to the fracas came from a senior official from your committee," reads the letter in part.

Meanwhile, President of the Sports Writers Association of Malawi (SWAM), Peter Kanjere, has expressed deep regret on the assault of journalist Mike Zgambo and SWAM is yet to launch a complaint with Northern Region Football Association with copies to Football Association of Malawi (FAM) and Journalists Union of Malawi (JUMA).

Zgambo's camera and flash disc are valued at K60, 000.00.

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