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Griffin Saenda warns players after Kukoma deal

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Kukoma Diamonds coach Griffin Saenda has warned non-performing players that they risk being axed from the squad.

Saenda said this on Wednesday after landing K4.5 million sponsorship from Capital Oil Refining Industry (Cori); manufactures of Kukoma cooking oil.

The coach said the honeymoon was over for out-of-form players as he attempts to build a strong squad.

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“We have a partnership to protect. We can only impress our sponsor with good results. We have been given a year-long sponsorship and we want our players to fight hard to win the heart of the sponsor,” he said.

Saenda said players would be given chance to prove their prowess before releasing deemed surplus to requirements.

“The players have been with us through thick and thin. It is only fair to give them [players] a chance to improve their performance. Maybe, it was lack of sponsorship which affected their form. So, we will assess their form and if they don’t improve after a particular period, they will go,” he warned.

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Currently, Diamonds have 16 players and according to Saenda, they intend to maintain the number.

Diamonds captain, Carol Mtukule-Ngwira, who also skippers Malawi Queens, said the players were geared to fight for their places.

Cori sales and marketing manager, Felex Cheza, said they would closely monitor the performance of the team.

“Kukoma is a winning brand and for sure we don’t want to be associated with a losing team,” he said.

Diamonds have been without a sponsor since 2010 when Electricity Supply Commission of Malawi (Escom) withdrew its sport sponsorship that also extended to football.

Meanwhile, during the launch of the sponsorship at Victoria Hotel in Blantyre on Wednesday, Diamonds also unveiled their new colours; red and white, replacing their tradition yellow and green.

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