Nyasa Big Bullets on Wednesday launched yet another commercialisation drive which, like the previous ones, promises that the club will be run as a professional entity, 50 years after it was established.
Speaking during the event at College of Medicine Sports Complex in Blantyre , Bullets chief executive officer (CEO) Fleetwood Haiya said the commercialisation drive was one of the conditions set by sponsors Nyasa Manufacturing Company (NMC) in 2016.
This is not the first time for Bullets to announce the commercialisation drive.
Previous administrations such as the Kondi Msungama-regime, Sadik Malinga’s executive committee and Noel Lipipa’s management also announced similar ambitious plans.
However, they all did not yield any fruits.
But Haiya said this time around, Bullets, which is now under NMC, has the potential of becoming a successful commercial entity, saying previous initiatives failed mainly due to the club’s set up as a trusteeship.
He said: “The commercialisation drive has been a process which the club wanted to take even before 2016. But because of the structure that we had before, it was very hard for us since the club was under trusteeship.”
The CEO said the initiative started taking shape after an extra-ordinary general meeting in Lilongwe in 2017 where trustees, supporters and players agreed that NMC should take over the club.
Despite facing several challenges such as a hostile economy and poor corporate interest in football, Haiya was confident that this time commercialisation will be a success.
“Knowing that we are in business, it is now our duty not to lobby for sponsors, but rather for partners. We need to have partners in business. It has to be a win-win situation where the partner has to win by benefiting from our brand and the club has to win by making proceeds out of that partnership.
“For example, we arguably say we have six million supporters. When you have a product or service for you to sell, just know that the majority of the customers that you are targeting are our supporters. It will be very is easy to sustain those customers in your pool if you partner with Bullets,” said Haiya.
He gave an example of how Bullets brand has uplifted NMC brand.
“Before we partnered Bullets, we were on the verge of collapse. But once we got Bullets, we have seen not just loyalty from customers but also our business growing.,” he said.
In his speech, Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu hailed Bullets for the initiative.
“Malawi national team is as strong as its top clubs. The fact that the club will be run as a business is what every Malawian wanted to hear. You can see the vision. Bullets have a dream of being one of the big teams in Africa. We will never succeed if we don’t dream,” he said.
Nyamilandu called on the corporate world to take advantage of Bullets’ brand influence.
“There is one thing that we have missed in Malawi—the tremendous potential that football has which the corporate world is not ready to exploit,” he said.
FDH head of marketing Levi Nkunika acknowledged the power of the football brand in the country and promised to support the club’s commercialisation drive.