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Two-horse race

Fleetwood Haiya challenges incumbent Sulom boss

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AIMING HIGH—Haiya

Nyasa Big Bullets vice president Fleetwood Haiya finally came out of his cocoon to declare his intention to vie for Super League of Malawi (Sulom) presidency during next month’s elective Annual General Meeting.

Haiya will face Sulom president Tiya Somba Banda, who has expressed his desire to seek re-election.

However, the two need to be nominated by clubs to be eligible to contest.

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Speaking in Blantyre Tuesday, Haiya, who was accompanied by incumbent Sulom vice president Gilbert Mitawa, said elite football has been characterised by numerous challenges, which have derailed its growth from amateur to a professional leagues.

“It is evident that our league is devoid of effective organisation and sound administration, lacks a clear roadmap, efficiency and commercial acumen. As a result, clubs who are owners of Sulom and meant to be the main beneficiaries, have not reaped the fruits of their efforts for the past decades,” he said.

Haiya pointed out lack of a solid organisation culture, absence of a strategic plan and roadmap, absence of a fully-fledged secretariat and feeble efforts towards commercialisation as some factors derailing the development of the league.

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“This is why after thorough consultation; I want to declare my candidacy as Sulom president for the forthcoming Sulom elections.

“My bid for presidency is premised, among others, on the following pillars; serving clubs, in the best interest of the clubs and setting up a professional and effective Sulom secretariat. I will initiate and implement Sulom strategic plan and realise the full potential of Malawi elite football through commercialisation. I will also assist Super League clubs to achieve financial independence,” he said.

Reacting to the development, Somba Banda welcomed Haiya’s move, saying the Bullets official had expressed his freedom of association.

“It’s a free world, a free country and he has the right to express his interest because that’s what I did before assuming this presidency four years ago. The affiliates will assess who has better ideas to take our league to a better space than where it is right now.

“The essence is to make Malawi football better and surely the clubs are in a better place to know who will deliver their aspirations,” he said.

Somba Banda hoped both camps will behave professionally before, during and after the elections.

“I take it positively and would like to urge both supporters from within my camp and his to avoid insults and mudslinging that, at times, comes with elections period,” he said.

He said during his reign, Sulom secured sponsorship for man of the match awards from Farmers Organisation Limited and also partnered with Nico Life Insurance Company Limited for a Sapota Funeral Cover for football fans.

“We also improved match day revenue and revolutionised the packaging of media rights. We launched, as shareholder, Mpira TV which raked in a record K103 million in the first year,” he said.

Currently, Mitawa, General Secretary Williams Banda and Treasurer Malinda Chinyama have also expressed interest to seek re-election.

Others that have shown interest to contest for various positions include Allie Mwachande, Blue Eagles vice General Secretary Gome Mchawi, Civil Service General Secretary Ronald Chiwaula, Mike Chamayere, Charles Manyungwa and Fadweck Matemba.

Both Chinyama and Chiwaula also attended Haiya’s press briefing.

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