Four soccer referees have faced the music for their actions after they were banned for life for match-fixing.
The four referees namely centre referee Aziz Nyirenda, assistant referees Stephano Gomani and Limbani Chisambi as well as fourth official Jimmy Phiri were found guilty of match-fixing after they were paid just $20 to fix a national cup game but ended up returning $15 since the team that paid them the bribe eventually lost.
The national cup match in question was between lower league team Nchalo United and Chitipa United.
The referees were exposed after the team that made the bribe, Nchalo United, lost to Chitipa United on penalties after a 1-1 draw and thereafter demanded the $20 back
Nchalo United reported the matter to the Malawian football authorities when the referees could only return $15.
There is a pending bribery case to be decided against Nchalo United but that has not stopped the four officials from coming under the hammer after their respective life bans were announced by the Malawian referees association.
Speaking on the matter, Malawi National Referees Association general secretary, Chris Kalichero, revealed that though the result wasn’t what the referees were aiming for, there was still an
“element of game-fixing” by the officials and “when you commit such a crime, a life ban is the punishment.”
One of the assistant referees, Chisambi, has however denied any wrongdoing. Reacting to the verdict, he said: ”I never took (a) share of the money. It is so sad that my career has ended in this manner.”
This latest incident involving referees in Malawi is coming one year after another referee was given a life ban for gross incompetence.