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Inside Big Bullets’ takeover proposal

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TNM Super League giants, Nyasa Big Bullets have submitted an ambitious proposal to their sponsors Nyasa Manufacturing Company (NMC) to kick-start the takeover process.

At the club’s last Extra Ordinary General Meeting (EGM) in Lilongwe, delegates agreed to transfer ownership of the team to the company to fully commercialise it.

The club’s stakeholders officially tabled the matter at an Annual General Meeting in February this year at Gymkhana Club in Zomba.

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The meeting agreed that while it was imperative for the club to go commercial, the process needed to be given time to avoid messing up the club’s future.

Before that, Bullets’ players and the Stone Mwamadi-led supporters committee had openly spoken of their desire to see NMC take over the club and run it as a business.

The club’s board of trustees and executive committee were hesitant to weigh in on the matter immediately but backed the commercialization drive during the Gymkhana Club AGM.

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However, a section of the club’s followers, led by former chairman, Kondi Msungama, resisted the takeover, arguing that Bullets is a community team and cannot be owned by any single entity.

Msungama even threatened to seek a court order to stopping the selling of the team.

Calls for the team to go commercial gathered more momentum with news that the club was deep in the red after blowing up a good chunk of its K500 million five-year sponsorship package with NMC.

This resulted into officials publicly declaring that they were digging deep into their pockets to enable the team fulfil its fixtures.

The officials then called for the EGM to iron out several issues and map the way forward.

The club’s ownership was one of the most pertinent issues and a unanimous agreement was reached to sell the club, with NMC being given the first opportunity to own the country’s most successful football club.

The meeting agreed that the process should be finalised within a period of 60 days. And with over a month gone, details have emerged that the team submitted a proposal to the company in which they set strict conditions ahead of the take over.

Bullets chairperson, Noel Lipipa, said as part of the proposal, the club had requested that NMC should set up a football academy, build a 30,000-seater stadium and buy two buses for the team.

In addition, Lipipa disclosed that they have also requested the company to build what he called Bullets Village and three club houses.

“We have already submitted the proposal and we are waiting for feedback from them. We offered the company a chance to take over because it showed serious interest in the team since it started sponsoring us,” Lipipa explained.

“After the response, we will call for another meeting to brief the stakeholders on the progress of the take over. The meeting will make a decision whether to stick with NMC or look for other partners.”

However, Lipipa could not disclose if there were other potential partners of the team. When contacted on Wednesday, NMC Director of Finance, Fleetwood Haiya, said the matter was being handled internally at the moment.

“After finalizing the process, we will be able to announce the outcome at an appropriate time,” Haiya said.

After 60 days, the Trustee called Bullets will no longer exist to pave way for complete take over of the team.

The take over will also mean Executive and Supporters Committees will be abolished.

Bullets and NMC signed a five-year K500million sponsorship deal but the club has already exhausted three-quarters of the sponsorship.

The People’s Team remains without any valuable assets despite being in existence since the late 1960s.

The club has changed hands between several sponsors like Bata Shoe Company, fuel and lubricants marketing firm Total, former President Bakili Muluzi, Msiska twin brothers Phaskani and Fumu trading under the name Cifu Group and the present NMC.

Efforts to commercialise the club were initiated by some administrators who registered a company called Bullets Holdings to run the club.

But the move did not bear fruits as a section of the team’s supporters forced the group out of the club, saying they were not helping the players.

Should the takeover proposal be successful, it will be a landmark in the country’s football administration as club’s are failing to run as commercial entities.

According to records obtained from Super League sponsors TNM’s supporters’ promotions, Bullets is the team with the biggest fan base and only needs to turn the massive support on the ground into business.

It is a common sight at football matches and in markets for vendors to sell assorted items under the Bullets brand but the proceeds do not go to the team.

Perhaps the takeover will change the country’s football landscape for the better and turn our game into a money-spinning venture that would contribute to the ailing economy.

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