Nyasa Big Bullets trustees secretary Jim Kalua has downplayed his fellow trustee Ruth Nyachenda Mkandawire’s tough talk against sponsors Nyasa Manufacturing Company (NMC).
In an interview with one of the local radio stations early in the week, the outspoken Nyachenda tore into NMC for allegedly interfering in the club’s operations, citing the signing of striker Chiukepo Msowoya.
“Chiukepo’s deal is on hold. The sponsor needs to explain clearly to us on whether they are now in the business of running the team. After all, the sponsorship only caters for players’ salaries,” she said.
Asked on whether their relationship with the sponsor is cordial, Nyachenda bluntly said: “The relationship is not good, we would better revert to operating without a sponsor.”
However, Kalua played down the issue yesterday, saying it had been sorted out amicably.
“I think madam Nyachenda spoke in the heat of the moment. It was just out of mere emotions, otherwise there is nothing serious and the issue has been sorted out amicably,” he said.
Nevertheless, the club’s former chairperson Kondi Msungama also faulted the sponsor for signing Chiukepo without the consent of the executive committee.
“I am not after any position at Bullets but when it gets to a point whereby the executive expresses ignorance on the signing of a player who was unveiled by the sponsor as was the case with Chiukepo, then something is terribly wrong.
“The picture being portrayed is that the sponsor is interfering in the operations of the team and there appears to be no clear sense of direction. In the past, we used to have sponsors such as Bata Shoe Company and former president Bakili Muluzi, but they never interfered with the operations of the team as is the case now. Likewise, our ‘neba’ [Be Forward Wanderers] also have a sponsor, but they do not interfere with the running of the team,” he said.
NMC had not responded to our questionnaire at press time, but during Chiukepo’s unveiling, Nyasa board chairperson Konrad Buckle defended the move, saying they signed the player out of their own initiative because the club could not afford as they are in financial turmoil.
Bullets general secretary Albert Chigoga, who last week claimed that the club’s executive was not involved in Chiukepo’s signing, also said the issue had been sorted out.
“We sought clarification from the sponsor and the issue was resolved,” he said. n