Malawi’s most prestigious football team, Big Bullets risk losing a multi million Kwacha ( $900,000) sponsorship deal with a cigarette manufacturing company, due to the infighting which has taken centre stage in the executive committee of the club.
Bullets inked a controversial deal with country’s sole cigarette manufacturer Nyasa Manufacturing Company (NMC) which rolled out in January but the company has warned it may stop bankrolling the club.
Chairman of Nyasa, Konrad Buckle said he is not amused with the cracks in the Bullets camp especially over money issues as the finance committee has reportedly been dissolved.
Some officials are against the finance committee’s chairperson, Isaac Norman, being part of the board.
The Nyasa letter which Nyasa Times has sourced , Buckle has expressed concerns over a cocktail of issues.
“We have been following events surrounding the club in the media, newsprint and the social media. As the chairman of Nyasa ,I am very concerned with the bad publicity the team is getting, which is directly affecting us as a partner,” Buckle said.
“We have done our research, and we have realised that that there is in fighting between the executive members and all of you know, that weak members creates a weak club,” reads part of the letter signed by Buckle.
Buckle warned Bullets of the risk of losing the sponsorship if the infighting continues.
“Let me remind you that Nyasa Manufacturing Company is a brand and we would not want our brand to be affected or associated by such infighting, lack of discipline and lack of expertise to manage a business,” he said.
Adding with a stern warning: “We therefore would like to warn your Board and Executive Committee that you risk the embarrassment of losing another sponsorship if this does not stop and the current leadership and contractual obligations are not supported.
“We have privately discussed this pertinent issue with several neutral parties and we believe that this in fighting between the current chairman, Sadik Malinga, Alex Kondwe, Peter Mandiza and Noel Lipipa is detrimental to the club management, welfare and future of this amazing football team. The bad publicity and infighting is very clear in the contract – it’s a breach of the contract (with serious consequences).
“The reason that Nyasa selected BB for sponsorship is because we believe in the club ,the current chairman and the brand. We were also aware that for last ten or eleven years nobody wanted to sponsor BB for exactly the same reasons ,infighting and lack of leadership.”
Nyasa has claimed its cigarette sales have declined in the past weeks “due to the ongoing negative publicity.”
Buckle pointed out: “ Regrettably, It seems nothing has changed regarding the management and welfare of the People’s Team and the blatant misuse of club earnings and funds.”
Chilunga, who chairs the 1967-founded team, said the deal with Nyasa is a “strategic business partnership” and the cigarette company “uses the team’s supporters’ base to enhance their brand.
The chair of supporters committee, Stone Mwamadi, has blamed some members of the executive for leaking to the media the internal squabbles, including the sponsor’s letter, instead of resolving matters internally.
Bullets, twice champions of the country’s Super League and who command the biggest fan base spread throughout the tiny and soccer-mad southern African nation, has been without sponsorship for nine years since former president Bakili Muluzi sponsored them for two years.
Most of the 16 teams in Malawi’s poorly-run amateur super league are sponsored by the Army, Police and government. The rest are owned by private clubs.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :