TNM Super League leaders Big Bullets plan to register for the 2015 CAF Club Championships whose deadline is November 24 despite having no penny for their operations in the continental showpiece.
According to Confederation of African Football (CAF), if a club joins the competition but fails to honour fixtures, it gets a three-year ban as well as it pays a fine of up to $10 000 (about K5 million).
Bullets chairperson Kondi Msungama told Nation on Sunday on Wednesday that currently they do not have the financial clout for air travel around the continent and food and accommodation in the prestigious contest, but they are hoping to raise at least a K20 million (about $40 000) starter-pack through fundraising activities and meet their over K100 million budget along the way through gate collections.
He added that other income will emanate from television rights and local companies that will ‘scramble’ to advertise their products through the outfit considering that the event gets massive audience as it is broadcast worldwide through international television channels.
Msungama was replying to Nation on Sunday’s enquiry on Bullets’ seriousness to participate in the competition that requires over K100 million when they struggle to raise K50 million for their operations in the domestic league.
A case in point is when the team cancelled at the eleventh hour a K5 million trip to South Africa for a pre-season camp.
On top of that, Bullets struggle to pay their players upkeep allowances and they hire buses when they go for some away local games.
“All we need is a K20 million starter-pack to get things going and that will not be very difficult for us. If we start doubting ourselves, no one will believe in us. Therefore, we are getting registered for the competition and later we will come up with our budget,” said Msungama.
He said they are currently discussing with their rivals Mighty Wanderers to organise a number of bonanzas alongside top teams in the Centre and North during the off- season break to raise the starter-pack. They are also planning to introduce their own SMS campaign, specifically for Champions’ League participation.
“Instead of participating in bonanzas that some organisations arrange for their gains, we will have our own contests to help us collect something from the gates. We will be sharing the spoils, but our package will be kept for the continental event.
“Apart from that, we will come up with an SMS campaign for the same purpose. We will also introduce another yet-to-be-disclosed drive that will help us generate cash from fans during all our games,” he said.
According to Msungama, they will also approach some companies for partnership in the period of the international event.
“We are now a winning brand that can help companies promote their products in return for their support. For example, if Chibuku Products comes to support us, we will vigorously encourage our fans to drink more of their beer. Most of our fans use airtime so we will as well approach mobile companies,” he said.
If Bullets’ dream is fulfilled, it will be the second time for them to participate in the CAF Championships since 2004 when they participated, courtesy of former president Bakili Muluzi’s sponsorship. Then, they reached the quarter-finals.
Apart from being an event where teams battle for appetising cash prizes, the CAF Championship also helps to market players to the world’s top clubs.
Following their participation in 2004, Peter Mponda, Robert Ng’ambi, Fischer Kondowe, Swadiki Sanudi, Jimmy Zakazaka, James Chilapondwa and Wisdom Ndlovu earned professional deals with top South African and Tanzanian clubs.