The TNM Super League has once again been hit by a departure of leaders Blantyre United star midfielder Jimmy Chikulekule to Mozambique’s Matchedje de Maputo.
Chikulekule, who is expected back to finish the league campaign, left on Tuesday to sign a year-long loan deal with the newly promoted Mocambola League top flight side.
United administrator, Lawson Nakoma, has confirmed the development.
“We have agreed with the club and he is going there to discuss personal terms. They, obviously, are offering him more; in excess of $1 000 [about K350 000] in monthly salary, a fully furnished apartment and food. A permanent deal would be subject to further discussions at the end of the loan,” Nakoma explained Monday evening.
Chikulekule is the second big-name player to sign for a Mozambique side a few days after Joseph Kamwendo joined Maputo’s Liga Maculmana.
“Malawian players in Mozambique put in a good word for him. Matchedje sent officials to watch him on Saturday when we played Blue Eagles in Lilongwe. They were impressed with what they saw. He will be back in a few days. We released him as we have no games in the next two weeks,” said Nakoma.
Despite Greyson Phiri being United’s captain, it is Chikulekule who wears the armband in most games for the side which tops the league on 48 points.
Before departure, Chikulekule could not hide his excitement: “The last time I had a stint in Mozambique, their standards were slightly lower than Malawi’s, but I understand they have made strides.
“They are a newly promoted side, yet they have better incentives. I play for league leaders, yet I cannot survive on football alone.”
Super League of Malawi general secretary Williams Banda said the departure of the players to Mozambique could be a blessing in disguise, saying while the league will miss out on their experience, the footballers’ exit could also open up space for up-and-coming ones.
Chikulekule is highly rated and has scooped four man-of-the-match awards this season. He follows to Mozambique Kamwendo, Lewis Minjale (Chingale de Tete), Sankhani Nyirenda (Ferroviaro de Maputo), Gerald Nkungula (Desportivo da Hidroeléctrica), Emmanuel Chipatala (Ferroviaro de Nampula), Zicco Mkanda and Simplex Nthala (both Maculmana).