In an attempt to turn the corner, Civo United have overhauled their squad, leading to four players being fired and an equal number jumping ship. The club has also introduced performance incentives.
In a letter to the fired players, titled: ‘Offloaded from Civo United’, Civo general secretary Rashid Ntelela terminated the services of midfielders Lazarus Chirwa, Nyadani Billie, Andrew Mitengo and first-choice goalkeeper Innocent Phiri.
“I write to inform you that due to realisation of Civil Service United Football Club, the executive committee has decided that your services will no longer be needed,” Ntelela wrote on April 16 2013.
“Civil Service Football Club has agreed to pay all the money that is due to you depending upon you returning all club equipment and assets under your custody.”
Tipped off about the looming axe, Alick Lihuhu, leading striker Dan Katunga and junior international ‘keeper Onani Cuthbert Sengwa jumped ship alongside Pilira Makupe who is on the verge of signing for Mighty Wanderers.
Civo coach Thom Mkolongo confirmed the departure of Lihuhu, Chirwa and Billie, who revived his career last season. The coach claimed the players have left on their own.
The released players could join other teams since the transfer window is open. Others, such as Katunga, have switched to the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) whereas Sengwa is with Epac FC.
“As for our clearance letter, the club insists we must first return the equipment, but I cannot. They seized the tops and boots. Some were on accusations of being rude, underperforming or throwing away games,” said one of the players.
In an earlier interview, Ntelela confirmed that coach Mkolongo submitted a list of players he wanted released. On Friday, Ntelela said the club will not replenish the squad but motivate it.
“We have realised that most of the teams pay game bonuses after several games, which hardly motivates the players, but we will be paying them after every game,” Ntelela explained.
“We have started clearing all debts and we are paying all players their signing on fees for the new contracts. In addition, to monthly upkeep allowances, we have, depending on seniority, also introduced housing allowances.”
Civo team manager Austin Nyondo promised to come back to The Nation with a comment on the development, but had not done so by the time we went to press.