A friend in need is a friend indeed. Renowned Blantyre-based business mogul Thomson Mpinganjira has committed to pay 50 percent of salaries that Mighty Wanderers management owes their players and technical panel members.
The salaries cover the period between December and March.
Wanderers have been in a financial crisis since the departure of sponsor Be Forward Limited late last year.
Mpinganjira, a long-time Nomads fan, has pledged to part with K20.2 million in the rescue package.
Following the withdrawal, Wanderers players and officials have not been receiving salaries since December.
Mpinganjira said he was deeply touched with the plight of Wanderers players.
“I am a Wanderers fan and the suffering of our players concerns me. The team is in a pathetic situation at the moment and something needs to be done urgently.
“We must make every effort to save the team from disbanding. Without Wanderers, there would be no Blantyre derby because [Nyasa Big] Bullets cannot have an archrival. Malawi football needs Wanderers at all cost.
“I cannot imagine football in Malawi without Wanderers. It would not be exciting. So, my appeal to other individuals and companies is that they should come forward to help the team,” he said.
Mpinganjira will deposit the money directly into the accounts of players and officials as a way of promoting transparency.
Wanderers General Secretary Victor Maunde was lost for words.
“For us, this is a timely relief. We just cannot find the right words with which to thank Dr Mpinganjira. He has just proved to us that he has deep love for Wanderers. We remain hopeful that other individuals and companies will emulate Dr Mpinganjira’s gesture,” Maunde said.
Wanderers’ wage bill is around K12 million per month.
Sports analyst George Chiusiwa said teams needed to be transparent and accountable if they were to retain the trust of sponsors.
“Dr Mpinganjira is indeed a true sportsman. It is not easy to part ways with all those millions in these tough times of Covid. This gesture testifies of the fact that the corporate world and individuals are willing to invest in football but they shy away because many clubs perform poorly on the financial management scale.
“Time has come for Wanderers to put their house in order if they are to entice the corporate world for more investment. This message should also go to other clubs,” Chiusiwa said.
The financial nightmare seems to have affected the Nomads’ performance in the TNM Super League.
The team is on position 12 on the table, with seven points from seven matches, 12 points behind leaders Silver Strikers.
Last year, the Lali Lubani Road outfit finished the season empty-handed and it only managed to finish the season as runners-up to champions Bullets.