Big Bullets vice-captain Sankhani Mkandawire yesterday came out of his shell and confirmed that the Carlsberg Cup prize money sharing has sparked protests from a section of the team’s senior players.
Bullets’ key players such as James Chilapondwa, Jimmy Zakazaka, Douglas Chirambo and Vincent Gona were reportedly left out of the squad that travelled to Lilongwe for a TNM Super League second-round opener against Civo United at Civo Stadium on Saturday.
The four players were dropped for protesting against the executive committee’s decision to offer them 40 percent of the K9 million Carlsberg Cup winners prize.
In a telephone interview from Lilongwe, Mkandawire said: “It is true that there is discontent among some players emanating from the prize money sharing, but I cannot say whether that is the reason some of the senior players were dropped.
“Actually, I am one of the players who expressed reservations when it was announced that we would get 40 percent of the prize money because initially, the chairperson Mr. Kondi Msungama, promised us 60 percent.”
He claimed that it is some officials within the executive who shot down Msungama’s proposal.
“But since they have decided that it should be like that, then let it be,” said Mkandawire.
Bullets constitution states that players are entitled to a 40 percent cut from every cash prize earned.
According to The Nation’s findings, the highest paid on the part of the players got K160 000 (US$388) while a technical official was offered K180 000 (US$437).
However, Bullets general secretary Harold Fote yesterday insisted that the players’ exclusion had nothing to do with the prize money dispute.
“If that was the case, then [captain] Henry Kabichi and his deputy (Sankhani) should also have been left out because they were in the forefront of the protest apart from the other regulars.
“In fact, when I heard that they had been dropped, I was also surprised because these are regular players, but I learnt from the technical panel that it was purely due to performance,” said Fote.
Chilapondwa said he did not travel to Lilongwe due to an injury while the others could not be reached for comment.