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Super League clubs struggle to pay players

STRUGGLING FINANCIALLY—Karonga United

Walter Nyamilandu

Some TNM Super league teams have started feeling the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic as Karonga United and Ekwendeni Hammers will not be able to pay salaries for the month of April.

Karonga Chairperson Mathews Tulombolombo and his Ekwendeni counterpart, Mabuchi Mkandawire, both attributed the development to their failure to generate revenue after kick off of the season was halted due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tulombolombo said suspension of games has put them in an awkward position as they cannot generate revenue from gate collections.

“We need to source about K2 million for players and technical staff members’ salaries. We have been very open about our situation and all stakeholders know that we are deep in the red. We engaged our players and technical panel on the state of our finances.

“We had reserved some money to cater for our preparations in March, hoping that we would raise more after the season kicks off. As I speak, we do not have anything in our coffers. This has forced some of us to use our personal resources for some of the team’s needs,” he said.

Tulombolombo said asking for help from companies, individuals and organisations was not working as they are asked what the money would be used for in the absence of games.

Mkandawire said he invested resources for Ekwendeni to earn Super League promotion hoping that gate collections would sustain the team afterwards.

“We had hopes for better times after kick off of the Super League. But things are not working out with the suspension of all football games. We cannot hide the truth. Our players are not going to get their April salaries because we just don’t have the money. We spent a lot in fighting for promotion and our coffers have dried up,” Mkandawire said.

Ntopwa FC owner Isaac ‘Jomo’ Osman also spoke of tough times in the absence of games.

“We are struggling to pay our players. We need a rescue package now. Paying players’ salaries does not come cheap. Something must be done,” he said.

Other unsponsored teams such as Tigers, Chitipa United and Mzuzu Warriors have also said they are finding it difficult to pay their players.

Tigers Chairperson, Sydney Chikoti, said they are working on other means of sourcing funds to pay their players.

“Life is indeed unbearable without revenue from gate collections. There is hardly any money for payment of players’ dues. We are trying to explore other avenues of raising funds because we have an obligation to pay our players.

“But our players know what we can afford to pay and we expect them to be patient. Life could have been better had the season kicked off,” Chikoti said.

On Tuesday, Football Association of Malawi president Walter Nyamilandu told the media about a K350 million rescue package for clubs, to be accessed from June.

“We will immediately write Fifa to request for authorisation to reallocate Special Projects funding for 2020 to the Relief Fund. Subject to Fifa approval, Fam expects to start disbursing the funds to the direct earmarked beneficiaries in June,” Nyamilandu said.

The Covid-19 has disrupted most sports activities across the world with several clubs announcing salary cuts to their players’ salaries.

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