Airtel Malawi condemns Wanderers/Silver game hooliganism; To meet FAM for discussion over future of Airtel Top 8 sponsorship

Nyasa Big Bullets winger Lanjesi Nkhoma scooped Player of the Tournament and Golden Boot awards

* Unfortunate acts which are not supposed to be happening at football matches

* Sport is supposed to bring unity by creating friendships among the soccer fraternities

By Victor Singano Jnr

Sponsors of the Airtel Top 8 ‘Zamadolo’ competition, Airtel Malawi Plc has condemned the act of violence that happened during the Season 6 launch match of the 2023 edition between Silver Strikers and Blantyre-based giants, Mighty Wanderers where violence exploded that ended up destruction of a number of stadium properties including chairs.


Managing Director, Charles Kamoto made the remarks on Tuesday night during the 2023 Airtel Top 8 individual awards presentation at Sunbird Mount Soche in Blantyre, where he described the situation that occurred as unfortunate acts which are not supposed to be happening at football matches as they believe that the main target of the sport is to bring unity by creating friendships among the soccer fraternities.

“Honestly, the situation wasn’t that good between Silver and Wanderers but we are very thankful to Football Association of Malawi (FAM) for bringing sanity and it is our hope that they will put some extra on how such situations can be managed and curbed in our games based on the lessons drawn from previous actions,” Kamoto said.

He, however, applauded FAM through the competitions committee for doing a wonderful work in as far as football administration is concerned, saying for the past 6 years since the competition was introduced there has been a great successful record which makes the sponsors proud every season.

“When we were coming into this football sponsorship, our main objective was to help by lifting up the standard of play of football in Malawi, provide entertainment to all soccer lovers, improve the level of competitiveness among teams and make our national team strong — which has been delivered and also make the Airtel Top 8 a household name.”

Kamoto further said the company will organize a special meeting with FAM in the weeks to come to discuss the future of their sponsors renewal.

Champions Nyasa Big Bullets

On his part FAM president, Fleetwood Haiya thanked Airtel Malawi for being great partner of football who always think about promoting football in the country.

“We have so many companies in the country but very few are showing dedication in supporting football, as such I need to commend them Airtel in a special way.

“I also wish to assure them and all the sponsors and those willing to take part in sponsoring football that, going forward, FAM will not entertain any hooliganism that can put our game into disrepute because what we want is to have smooth, competitive and violence-free matches,” Haiya promised

Representing Malawi National Council of Sports, Board member, Helene Tasosa-Mpinganjira called upon companies to emulate the good gesture that Airtel Malawi and other companies are doing in supporting football and other sporting disciplines, saying government alone cannot manage to support all due to limited funds.


Meanwhile, Nyasa Big Bullets winger Lanjesi Nkhoma, who played a huge role in his team’s success of winning the 2023 Airtel Top 8,  scooped Player of the Tournament and Golden Boot awards.

This comes a week after being named Player of the Tournament in the inaugural Castel Challenhe Cup — both tournaments won by Big Bullets and this is the second time to win the Golden Boot as he earned it in the previous edition alongside Mighty Wanderers’ Chiukepo Msowoya and Clement Nyondo of Dedza Dynamos.

Lanjesi, who made 44 appearances across all competitions scoring 20 goals finished in the 2023 season, finished the Airtel Top 8 with three goals, a goal ahead of teammates Hassan Kamole and Maxwell Phodo.

The 24-year-old, who is a Bullets Reserve product and earned promotion at the start of 2021 season, beat two other nominees for the Player of the Tournament — teammate Maxwell Phodo and Mafco goalkeeper Christopher Mikuwa.

Man of the Match in the final

In the three games he played, Lanjesi was one of the outstanding players for Nyasa Big Bullets as they won their second Airtel Top 8 in which he scored three goals — including a brace in the final as Bullets edged MAFCO 2-1 at the Kamuzu Stadium which saw him walk away with the Man of the Match accolade.

For the Castel Challenge Cup, Lanjesi also beat teammate Hassan Kajoke for the Player of the Tournament accolade as well as Silver Strikers forward Patrick Mwaungulu.

Other players honoured were Emmanuel Saviel of Bangwe All Stars (Discovery Player of the Tournament); Big Bullets’ Richard Chimbamba (Best goalkeeper).

Five players shared the Golden Boot award — Peter Katsonga, Mphatso Philemon (both Mafco), Chiukepo Msowoya (Mighty Wanderers), Gaston Simkonda (Moyale) and Patrick Macheso (Silver Strikers) — having scored five goals each.—Additional reporting by Duncan Mlanjira, Maravi Express