Playing ostrich on Blessings Tembo’s deal
Winger Blessings Tembo’s decision to make a u-turn on a three-year-contract he claims Be Forward Wanderers made him sign under duress last week, reflects the chaos that is on the local transfer market.
Local footballers, taking advantage of Super League of Malawi (Sulom) and Football Association of Malawi’s (Fam) passive enforcement of players’ transfer rules and regulations, use such antics during offseason breaks to fleece other unsuspecting clubs and boost bargaining power.
“I am still consulting on my next move. I will come back to you once I have a meeting with my bosses,” Tembo told The Daily Times’ edition of December 1 2017.
To increase his bargaining power, Joseph Kamwendo used similar tactics last season when he threatened to leave Wanderers for Masters Security FC.
It is the same thing with Tembo. The mind of Tembo might still be at Silver but his heart is on money which Wanderers might have dangled in front of him.
Never rule out the temporary lure of a car and Confederation of African Football Champions League football which Wanderers would get involved in from next month.
Tembo might have felt less valued and taken for granted at Silver. Silver knew that his contract was to expire in December 2017 but took it for granted that he was theirs, anyway.
After all, he was a club veteran heading to the twilight of his career. Silver never imagined that Tembo could sacrifice his loyalty to Silver on the altar of quick cash.
That is what one reads, between the lines, from what Silver interim General Secretary, Thabo Nyirenda, told The Daily Times of December 1 2017.
“We have started negotiations with our captain on the possibility of him signing a new contract with us. He is our captain and he has always been loyal to the club.
He is the only veteran remaining in the team. We will wait to hear from him. We are sure that he will play for us next season,” Nyirenda said. According to Fifa’s transfer rules and regulations, players who are into the last six months of their contracts, can talk freely to other interested teams.
When a contract expires, a player can leave for another team freely, as is the case with Tembo.
Last season, Malata also left Silver for the Nomads in a similar manner.
Silver’s former players and fans bashed the team’s management for, in two consecutive seasons, letting go club captains.
“Silver Strikers FC Executive Committee is a big shame! They released our captain Lucky Malata and now they have let Blessings Tembo go!,” a former player for Silver posted on his Facebook page.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. Silver had to react, and they did that by shifting goal-posts, claiming that Tembo’s contract would, afterall, run until June 2018.
“The contract was, thus, signed by mistake. We have also been furnished with a copy of the letter from Blessings to Wanderers in which the former rescinded the contract based on several grounds, including glaring fundamental errors regarding commencement date and consideration, among others,” reads part of Nyirenda’s letter.
Silver did not take their case to Fam because the Lilongwe giants know they do not have any solid ground to stand on.
Fam has a copy of Tembo’s contract which expired. Silver were
merely trying to ease the tension in their camp.
The happenings on the local transfer market show that players take advantage of Sulom and Fam’s passive enforcement of the transfer rules.
Last season, Masters, as is the case with many clubs including Nyasa Big Bullets (on John Lanjesi and Emmanuel Zoya’s transfer from Civil Sporting Club), committed an offence of playertapping on Kamwendo, and got away with it.
And now by claiming that Tembo signed a contract with Wanderers under duress, Silver were also guilty of player-tapping because Tembo is no longer their property.
But, where is Fam and Sulom in all this? Last season, Fam summoned Masters for a hearing over the Kamwendo saga, but it all turned out to be a mere publicity stunt. The matter never reached its logical conclusion.
On Tembo’s issue, Fam and Sulom, too, are waiting for some party to lodge an official complaint. The two bodies are playing the ostrich.
It is like the police standing aloof while watching someone stealing, waiting for someone to shout, thief! thief!.
Wanderers can lodge a omplaint to Fam against Silver for player-tapping offence, but it is unlikely that the Nomads have time for that.
If Silver, indeed, have a copy of Tembo’s contract indicating that it would expire in June, then some party must have forged a contract.
Surely, Fam and Sulom do not want to entertain such behaviour.
Unfortunately, they are doing that by default.
Tembo’s manager, Jimmy Linje, has admitted that Wanderers own the player. Wanderers are unlikely to dance to Tembo’s tune as it is believed that the Nomads have registered the winger for Champions League assignments.
Furthermore, Fifa’s rules and regulations, Article 17, state that unilateral termination of a contract is only permissible when there is a just cause (either playing less than 10 percent of games in a season or over unpaid dues).
Tembo’s u-turn could compromise his career.
The winger is sane and he is an adult hence, in law, his argument that he signed the contract under duress does not hold. In law, ignorance is no defence.
“If a contract is terminated without just cause, the person in breach will have to pay compensation. Generally, when calculating the level of compensation, the law of the country concerned and the specific city of sport will be considered,” www.fifa.com states.
It is Tembo’s fault but in the larger context, it is all a reflection of the village operation that has always characterised the local transfer market.
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