Karonga District Football Committee (KDFC) has vowed to cramp hard on teams and players involved in age cheating in the ongoing First Merchant Bank (FMB) under-20 league in the district.
The call comes in the wake of wrangles which characterized the first season (2015) of the youth football league in the district where a wide range of cheating took centre stage. The situation forced authorities to suspend the league for a few months at some point.
Speaking to Malawi News Agency in an interview, KDFC Chairperson Philemon Maseko, said the committee does not want the league to be characterized by age-cheating, hence ready to give out the toughest punishment possible when that happens.
“We as committee, will leave no stone unturned in the fight against age-cheating in our league. We are ready to throw out teams and coaches or players who age-cheat,” warned Maseko.
He said since the under-20 league is a breeding ground for upcoming players, there is need to protect them and their talents by meting out stiffer punishment to the cheaters.
“We accept that we cannot eliminate age-cheating completely, but we can minimize it so that we have a level playing field among the players on the pitch,” he added.
Maseko, therefore, hopes with the measures they have put in place, age-cheating practices will be minimized. He said he now hopes headlines will be made on the pitch with great games and players on show.
Special Absalom, a local soccer pundit in the district, has a contrary view. He says it will be difficult to curb age-cheating considering the money on offer for winning the league. He feels clubs will do whatever it takes, even if it means breaking the rules, to become champions.
Currently, the winners of the FMB under-20 sponsored league receive MK 300, 000 for being champions while the second placed side pockets MK 200, 000.
Meanwhile, in the just begun FMB under-20, 2016 league season, Kasoba Football Club lead the standings with 12 points from their four matches played so far. They are followed by Malema FC and Baka FC who have eight and seven points respectively from their four matches.
Source: Malawi News Agency