By SHAMAOMA MUSONDA –
‘MIGHTY’ Mufulira Wanderers’ euphoria of making an eminent return to Zambia’s elite league has been derailed following an appeal by FAZ Division One North side, Nkwiza.
Nkwiza appealed to FAZ after Kalulushi-based referee Patrick Bunukule awarded Wanderers three points in their unplayed Week 29 fixture at Nkana Stadium in Kitwe on October 5.
Bunukule refused to officiate the match alleging that there was inadequate security by the home team, Nkwiza and gave Wanderers three points, leaving Nkwiza facing relegation to Division Two.
But the FAZ Disciplinary Committee failed to make a decision on Friday, opting to adjourn the case as Nkwiza did not send a representative because of a bereavement.
Wanderers remain on 60 points, three behind leaders Forest Rangers with two games remaining to be played while Chambishi are third with 58 points.
The case also applied brakes on Nkwiza’s relegation fears as they are rooted to the bottom of the table on 24 points, six off safety.
Nkwiza argued to the FAZ disciplinary committee chaired by acting chairperson Gerald Mweene that the game should have gone ahead as the six police officers hired were enough.
“Nkwiza Football Club submitted that they hired six armed Police Officers to man the game while the referee submitted that the spectators were too many and there was need to have a higher number of police officers. As a result, Wanderers were given the points,” said Mweene.
The case was adjourned since Nkwiza did not send an official to the sitting due to a bereavement in the team after club owner Lenny Nkhuwa lost her husband.
Mweene admitted that there was need to quickly dispose off the case since it hinged on promotion and relegation.
Wanderers and Nkwiza have a bitter history as their game last year was abandoned with 10 minutes left after an assistant referee was doused in opaque beer in Mufulira with visitors leading 1-0.
The FAZ ‘court’ also adjourned another case involving Nkwiza over a game which was not played against Chambishi though points were awarded to the latter. Chambishi are third on the table with 58 points, five off leaders Forest Rangers.
Meanwhile, Nkana have also taken their 1-1 draw against Indeni to Football House, claiming that the Ndola side used their former player Mathews Bwalya who was not fully cleared.
“The committee resolved to refer the matter to the office of the registrar to determine the registration of the player “Mathews Bwalya,” Mweene said.