Nomads reverse decision after ‘pulling out’ of CAF
In a case of pure comedy and confusion, Be Forward Wanderers yesterday announced their withdrawal from the Confederation of African Football (CAF) 2018 Champions League for unspecified reasons but reversed the decision before the close of business.
The Nomads announced the upshot via a letter club general secretary Mike Butao e-mailed to Football Association of Malawi (FAM), asking the association’s secretariat to notiy CAF that they were pulling out of the competition just two weeks before they face DR Congo’s AS Vita on February 11 in Kinshasa in preliminary round.
The e-mail read: “We are sorry but circumstances have forced us to withdraw from 2018 CAF Champions League with immidiate effect. Please advise CAF of this withdrawal. We regret the inconvenience this will cause. Please advise us on the penalty associated with such withdrawal.”
The development follows sponsors Be Forward Limited’s advice to pull out as a result of players’ discontent on how the club has handled the sharing of TNM Super League prize money.
Apparently, the players want their share of the K15 million prize money while the club was of the view that the money should go towards CAF preparations.
After a stakeholders meeting held on Wednesday failed to resolve the issue, the club opted to follow the sponsor’s advice.
But a backlash from Wanderers supporters forced the club’s board of trustees to reverse the decision to withdraw and were locked in another meeting, at press time.
Wanderers chairperson Gift Mkandawire confirmed that the team had not pulled out of the competition and was working on the internal wrangles.
Meanwhile FAM competitions and media manager Casper Jangale, who is also responsible for club licensing, said they are keeping fingers crossed on the outcome of the meeting.
“As of now they have not pulled out so I cannot comment much,” he said.
If the Nomads pull out of the competition they face a fine plus a ban from CAF competitions.
“A withdrawal reported during the preliminary round is sanctioned with a fine of $5 000 and a two-year ban from all CAF competitions,” reads 2018 CAF Champions League rules and regulations.
All things being equal, Wanderers are responsible for paying the fine, but past experience has shown that FAM ends up shouldering the burden since it also risks the wrath of the continental football governing body in case of default to pay the fine.
Soccer analyst Charles Nyirenda said the club was paying the price of failing to prepare thoroughly for the competition.
He said: “We said it that participating in CAF competitions is not a joke. It needs adequate preparations both financially and technically. Technically, fine they [Wanderers] are okay, but financially it seems we have a problem. It will be sad if they pull out because as Super League champions they are representing the country.”
As the Nomads are battling internal problems, their opponents have set out mind games, declaring that the Nomads will not stand the heat.
AS Vita team manager Victor Ndunga, who was in the country to work on other logistics ahead of the February 21 second leg in Lilongwe, told Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) on Wednesday that the Nomads do not stand a chance in the first leg.
“Wanderers cannot beat us in Congo. We have so much experience and we have talent in abundance,” he said.
However, his Nomads counterpart Stevie Madeira said such upbeat talk is expected from a home team.
“The sad part of it though is that instead of stepping up our preparations, we are focusing on internal problems which is worrisome considering the kind of opposition we are going to face,” he said.
“And for them to send an advance team, just shows how serious they are and we need to take extra caution.”
Apart from Wanderers, Masters Security are participating in CAF Confederations Cup. n