Blantyre United have instituted legal proceedings against South African Premier Soccer League (PSL) outfit Jomo Cosmos for ‘dumping’ their striker Muhamad Sulumba despite signing a three-year contract.
United’s administration and technical director Lawson Nakoma on Wednesday said they want Cosmos to pay Sulumba his benefits for the duration of his contract estimated to be in the excess of K66 million, which include his salary and signing-on fee. However, the figure could rise considerably if other terms such as bonus and other allowances are factored in.
“We have already taken up the issue with our lawyers,” he said.
As a club, United are also seeking unspecified amount in compensation for the collapse of the deal. They offered the player to Cosmos at K14 million, but claim they are yet to get the transfer fee.
According to Nakoma, in the contract, Sulumba—who is currently on loan at Be Forward Wanderers—was offered R40 000 (about K1.68 million) as monthly salary, translating to K57 million for three years.
He was also offered R200 000 (about K8.4 million) as signing-on fee.
“We will seek court’s determination that the player should be paid in full according to the contract. As a club, we have also lost business because we could have sold him elsewhere,” he said.
Nakoma said while Cosmos claimed that they wanted to loan the player back to United with the intention of registering him during the next transfer window in January next year, the indications are that they have dumped the player.
“Cosmos said they could not register him because their foreign quota was full, but when we demanded official documentation on the matter, they started playing hide-and-seek and we were not amused.”
United gave Cosmos until September 21 to respond to their concerns through a letter dated September 21 2015, which the Weekend Nation has seen.
“By cut-off point, they had not responded, hence, our move to seek legal redress.”
Nakoma also claims that the player was treated unfairly by Cosmos, “as he had to use unconventional means to travel back to Malawi after being dumped unceremoniously by Cosmos.”
“The player has also been affected pathologically as he is failing to come to terms with what happened and this has led to slump of form and has consequently lost his place in the national team.”
Speaking in a separate interview, Sulumba said he is in the dark as regards the future of his deal with the Johannesburg-based side.
“They told me that I would be loaned back to Blantyre United while waiting for the next transfer window to open in December so that they can register me. When I sought more clarification from Ben Chiwaya [Comos’ local agent], he said he would revert after talking to his boss Jomo Sono [coach and owner of Cosmos] but nothing has come up yet,” said Sulumba.
He added: “So, for now, I would rather leave it in the hands of Mr. Nakoma.”
Sulumba also admitted that the issue affected his performance, “but I have picked myself up now. I have come to accept that it is one of those things that happen in football and I need to forge ahead.”
The player also said he does not have a copy of the contract that he signed with Cosmos.
Sulumba and compatriot Micium Mhone signed three and two-year contracts respectively in July last year after impressing Cosmos during trials.
However, while confirming that Sulumba signed a contract, Chiwaya on Thursday argued that it was not valid as his work permit had not been issued.
“That is no big deal because a contract only becomes valid once a work permit is issued, in the absence of that then it was null and void.
“We informed them about our position regarding the player, so if they want to take us to the ‘cleaners’ [court], they can go ahead,” said Chiwaya. n
Super Sunday promises more fireworks with Mersey side derby opening proceedings from 1.30 pm. Everton have been playing some good football and even picked three points of defending champions Chelsea. Liverpool on the other hand have been struggling for consistency and their last match against Aston Villa was a laboured one. Although this match has often ended in draws in recent encounters, I predict an Everton win tomorrow.
Super Sunday will come to a climax when Manchester United square up against Arsenal. United are log leaders after some good results in recent matches. The morale is high after they won in the Champions League against Wolfsburg. While Arsenal appear to be struggling after losing again in the Champions League against Olympiakos and are now bottom in their group. United are favourites for this match. n