By Peter Fote:
The future of 13 Nyasa Big Bullets players hangs in limbo after failing to play half of the team’s games in the current season.
The players’ contracts stipulate that the club has the right to termination without compensation should a player fail to feature in 50 percent of the season’s games.
“The club has the right to terminate this contract without compensation if a player does not manage to play 50 percent of the games in a season,” reads section 8c of the players’ contracts.
Bullets have played 23 TNM Super League games and are remaining with seven before winding up the season but the 13 have made less than seven appearances each.
In financial terms, Bullets have spent more than K18 million on the players who have mostly been on the sidelines in the past seven months.
The average monthly salary of each of the players is K200,000. This excludes benefits such as game bonuses and training allowances.
It is yet to be seen if at all the players would improve on their appearances before the season ends.
Besides playing in the Super League, Bullets are competing in the Fisd Challenge Cup where they are in the quarter-finals.
The list includes former captain Pilirani Zonda, Miracle Gabeya, Sankhani Mkandawire, Bashir Maunde, Precious Phiri, Ben Manyozo, Bright Munthali, MacFarlane Mgwira, Fisher Kondowe, Luke Chima, Ernest Kakhobwe, Righteous Banda and Dalitso Sailesi.
However, Bullets Chief Administrative Officer, Albert Chigoga, said they would wait for a technical assessment report before taking action.
“This report will be made available at the end of the season, which means no player will go now. But it is true that the 13 players have not contributed much to the club this season due to injuries. So we cannot make any decisions now until our technical team assesses the players’ contributions to the team at end of the season. Based on the assessment, some of the players might be loaned out or retained. Others should expect to be fired. The final decision rests with the coaches,” Chigoga said.
He added that minimal contribution to the team in the current season would not be the only factor in determining who is chopped, loaned out or retained.
“We will also consider discipline, age and players overall contribution to the team. For example, we cannot loan out a player who is over 30 years old. The question will be if we do so, ‘are we going to have him back a better player?’ We will be very rational to avoid making wrong decisions,” he said.
Kondowe and Bashir are over 30 years and appear on the team’s long injury players list.
Captain for the People’s Team, John Lanjesi, has also missed much of the season’s action due a long injury layoff.