At Long last. Domestic football powerhouse Big Bullets’ poverty will soon be a thing of the past as it is on the verge of sealing a whopping K500 million ($909,091)-plus five-year business strategic partnership deal with Nyasa Manufacturing Company (NMC)—certainly the stuff that dreams are made of.
The cigarette manufacturing firm’s managing director Demo Kalaitzis and Bullets’ chairperson Samuel Chilunga on Thursday evening confirmed that there is a silver lining lacing the horizon for the People’s Team, saying the agreement will see NCM pumping in K100 million ($181,818) or more, every year for the five-year duration—turning them into the best sponsored team in the land.
NMC board chair Konrad Buckle said they are hoping that this partnership will take the popular sport to new heights and encourage the youth’s participation and unlock football potential.
The deal is expected to commence on January 1 next year and Chilunga hinted that the name of the team will change to NMC Big Bullets.
The development is expected to cause a buzz of excitement among those associated with the People’s Team as they look forward to toasting such a golden moment that has taken years to come.
Chilunga said the two parties already signed a pre-contract while the actual deal is expected to be sealed within the next seven days ahead of colourful launch earmarked for mid to end-November.
“Relief was my prevalent emotion when we finally reached an agreement. We have been talking behind the scenes since May 25, barely a few days after my appointment as chairperson. I would like to appreciate the key role which FAM [Football Association of Malawi] president Walter Nyamilandu played in the exercise.
“Basically, this is more than sponsorship. It is a strategic business partnership in which we need to add value to their sales through our brand. The objective of this deal is to help finance our budget which is pegged at K100 million a season,” he said.
The Bullets boss said apart from the K100 million annual injection towards the club’s operations, the deal will also include branding of the team’s kit and using the players as ambassadors.
Chilunga said they were courting two other companies, but settled for NMC because of the similarities between them, saying both are established and recognised local Malawian brands that have the same vision for brand growth.
He also said the board of trustees and other stakeholders have already been briefed about the potential five-year multi-million deal.
“This is the best news ever for Bullets since the team’s formation in 1967 and we would like to assure not only our prospective partner and the Bullets family but also the soccer fraternity in general that there will be total transparency. The deal requires the right mind, right attitude, right work ethics and, above all, accountability and integrity.
“This is a lifetime opportunity and the train has left the station, along the way, it will be dropping some people and picking some for the advancement of the BB brand. This is in line with the strategic plan and vision of the team—to realise the dream of turning it into a commercial entity,” he said.
The People’s Team has been without an active sponsor since 2004 when former president Bakili Muluzi withdrew sponsorship.
On his part, Kalaitzis said being the only cigarette manufacturing company whose brands are produced using 100 percent Malawian tobacco leaf, they saw it wise to partner the biggest football club in the country.
“More details will be unveiled during the launch, but suffice to say we want to use the Bullets brand to market our products and we believe it is a viable deal. We would also like to recognise the commitment shown by the FA president [Nyamilandu] in the whole process.
“Obviously, we are very excited, our motivation is that we are partnering the biggest brand in football and we expect to reap the rewards. We believe with this deal, Malawian fans will support our proudly Malawian brand and contribute in the growth of both NMC and Big Bullets brands and proudly buying a local product.”
Some of NMC’s cigarette brands are Super King, Super Menthol, 2010 Menthol, 2010 Virginia and Nyasa Fodya. n