A recently acquired K220 million sponsorship has inspired TNM Super League rookies Ekwendeni Hammers to change focus from just surviving relegation to fighting for the league title.
The 2019 Northern Region Football League champions secured the sponsorship from Agri-Zone International Limited (Azit) at a time most Super League teams are struggling financially.
Last week, Hammers signed a five-year operational deal with Azit, which will see the agricultural commodity trader injecting K44 million into the team annually.
Despite playing in the elite league for the first time, Hammers have posted several wins both at home and away to sensationally shoot to second position on the log table with 19 points from nine matches.
The club’s patron Gift Mkandawire said the players are now more motivated than before to fight for points in the league.
“We now have positive vibes in the team. At first, our target was just to survive relegation. But with this sponsorship, we will go a step further and be a little more ambitious. We see ourselves fighting for the league title.
“We changed our goals upon signing the sponsorship deal with Azit. We have agreed to fight for the league title and we have the capacity to surprise the football fraternity. We have challenged our players to achieve this instead of just feeling contented with playing in the Super League,” Mkandawire said.
He said Hammers were also focusing on replacing Moyale as the most successful team in the Northern Region.
“Moyale are the only team from the North to have won national cups. We want to compete for that slot and eventually take over as giants of the North. We want to become a team to be reckoned with,” Mkandawire said.
With the season still on break due to Covid, Hammers Coach Etson Kadenge Mwafulirwa said he did not rest his charges despite suspension of the league about a month ago.
“We are still training. We don’t want to lose our form once the season resumes. However, I am not pushing my players too hard because all I want is just to ensure that they maintain their fitness. I want to make sure that they do not relax because of the break,” Kadenge Mwafulirwa said.
Capital City giants Silver Strikers lead the table on goal difference as they remain tied with Hammers on 19 points.
Hammers are the only new team in the Super League, as Red Lions and Mafco made a return after being relegated in previous seasons.