Mzuni FC financially bailed out by Certified & National Foods Company

TNM Super League side, Mzuni FC have been offered a business partnership with Certified & National Foods (C&NF) Company in which they have been given MK20 million-worth of the Mulanje-based company’s highly marketable product, a body cleansing powder that is fast becoming a hot seller on the health market.

Jedegwa briefing the media

Instead of giving Mzuzu a straight financial sponsorship as is common, the Mzuzu-based side, that has been struggling to pay their players their dues as well as to fulfill their highly demanding TNM Super League  engagements, has been equipped by C&NF Company to think outside the box by running the club as a business entity.

The partnership with C&NF, which also produces Thanzi Ufa wa Mbatata Phala, a highly nutritious porridge flour made from fresh orange sweet potatoes and other ingredients, will see Mzuni selling the MK20 million-worth of the products at reduced prices and pocket all the proceeds.

This was disclosed at a press briefing on Wednesday at Football Association of Malawi’s Mpira Village in Limbe by C&NF’s Production Manager Chrispin Jedegwa, saying they have given Mzuni the first batch to sell within 30-40 days and use the proceeds to clear off their debts.

“The next batch, also at MK20 million, will be given as a second phase to make the team sustain themselves as they think of the many business ventures they can decide to carry on either through continuing selling our products as agents or otherwise.

“We are going to assist them through media advertising at our cost but specifically marketing Mzuni FC as the agent to give them maximum marketing visibility,” he said.

Jedegwa said their market price for the body cleansing powder, named Zondeni Ruo Body Cleaner — which won an award at an international trade fair in Gaborone, Botswana, sells at MK19,000 each but Mzuni will sell at MK5,000 while the Thanzi Ufa wa Mbatata Phala that sells at MK11,500 will be sold at K3,500 each.

He said Mzuni FC officials will be equipped with marketing skills to carry out viable business ventures so that they are able to sustain themselves instead of just relying on one-off handouts from sponsors.

Mzuni is a team that was formed by students and staff of Mzuzu University as a pastime several years back and later recruited former players and other excellent outside campus players who contributed immensely to their promotion into the top flight TNM Super League in which they have not been demoted four years on.

But due to financial constraints, the University cut off its financial support and left the destiny of the team in the hands of its administrators, some being staff members and others outsiders, to either consider disbanding or carry on at their own expenses.

The team managers decided to give it a shot and since they had already registered the team as Mzuni FC with Super League of Malawi (Sulom) prior to the season, they decided to maintain the name and went on campaign to solicit sponsorship.

“We came to know of the financial plight of Mzuni FC through one interview its officials had with one of the TV stations and we were touched after learning that most of the players rely on the team for their personal financial sustenance.

“We are not a big company but we thought that with the little we have we can share but we should equip the team with marketing skills so that they can be sustaining themselves by developing viable ventures.

“And as a start we thought of doing business together through this arrangement. We shall provide all necessary support to market our products using Mzuni, specifically as our agents for this short term period as well as for the long term.

“We appeal to other sponsors to come in at any time to assist the team like others are being assisted and we only offer this technical marketing support for the club’s immediate needs,” Jedegwa said.

On his part Mzuni general secretary, Donnex Chilonga first applauded the media for exposing the plight of the team after the University pulled out its financial support and that the partnership with C&NF has given them a new lease of life.

“The first phase of this deal is to clear off our long debts which include our players’ long standing dues,” he said. “They have been dutifully playing in solidarity and we don’t take that for granted and there is need to reward them.

“After that we will try to sustain ourselves because in our team committee we have experienced marketers who have been energized by this deal with C&NF.”

A staffer with Mzuzu University, Chilonga said they were allowed to maintain the name of Mzuni for the moment but they are at liberty to change it should they be required to do so.

“That is why we are still appealing to the corporate world for more assistance as we strive to become commercially viable in the near future,” he said.

Mzuni FC are currently at the bottom of the 16-team TNM Super League with six points from seven games of one win, three draws and three losses.

The current leaders are Kamuzu Barracks with 23 points from 10 games, followed by Mighty Be Forward Wanderers on second place with 22 points from 9 games, tying on points with third-placed Kasungu-based TN Stars, who have played 10 games.

Defending champions Nyasa Big Bullets are fourth with 18 points from nine games while Lilongwe-based giants — Blue Eagles and Silver Strikers — are 5th and 6th with 17 and 15 points respectively.

The TNM Super League is a very tasking competition in which participating teams cross-cross the country every weekend to honour their fixtures at Karonga, Mzuzu, Silver, Nankhaka, Civo, Dedza, Balaka, Mulanje and Kamuzu stadia.

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Welcome development. Thank you C & CF for a helping hand