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The Benchwarmer: Small issue of K350,000

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Esau Kanyenda is a humble man, he is a cool man.

Perhaps few people would not agree after he raised the small issue of K350,000, in the media, as being too little to convince him to join local football giants Big Bullets.

Bullets and Wanderers are top teams; top teams must attract good players. What about someone nearing his retirement?

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Yet, Bullets and Wanderers remain two of the poorest clubs in Malawi. You can see the excitement that followed their securing of sponsorships which I would think is a mockery to the two teams’ stature.

By the way, Bullets and Wanderers still do not have training grounds of their own. Ooh, no-one would expect the two to have their own stadiums too.

Now if Bullets cannot convince Kanyenda, who is about to retire, then you would question a number of things. Bullets thought the carrot it had dangled was big enough, more orange than the usual. Probably, Bullets should have offered a retirement package for Kanyenda too but he has dismissed the offer in the media as small change.

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Let us consider Kanyenda’s comment – that his wife would actually pay him that ‘little’ for taking their children to school – as a joke.

Others of course believe the The Black Mamba is not humble enough to brag about his riches – which he made in Russia and not South Africa – but I feel this was the perfect opportunity to put Bullets officials in their place.

The message that Kanyenda sent is that local teams pay the players little change. Of course we do not expect players to receive K1million per month but if it were to be revealed, there is so much Thangata among most teams and the officials benefit more from these systems.

One would think Bullets, by now, should have been competing with the best in Africa but that has not been the case. Some would argue that our economy has made it difficult for every business therefore it is madness to think that football clubs should have an easy ride.

Rather than arguing that our economy is in bad shape, which is true, what we must be talking about is how much these football giants have done to become professional clubs, capable of generating a fortune using their brand.

There is no argument that we have allowed fortune seekers to run football in Malawi.

What motivates them is not the love for the game but to milk the already thin cows.

If football is run by people of such calibre, would we be surprised that there is lack of foresight that’s why no-one would tell you how far they want to take Bullets in the next 10 years?

Almost a decade ago, Bullets were far more attractive than they are today.

Of course others argue that the reason was that the club rode on the popularity and riches of former president Bakili Muluzi. They could be right but one thing that Atcheya did right was to show Bullets that the sponsorship the club deserved was more than what he had provided.

I hear there are players in the Super League who earn as little as K6,000 per month, really? Well, that is what happens when we allow short-sighted officials to run football. Maybe we should not blame Kanyenda for his sentiments. All he did was to put Bullets officials in their right place, even local players deserve more than the K350,000 he refused.

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