Push comes to shove.
Amid the chaos that has rocked the Be Forward Wanderers camp, that culminated in some supporters demanding the immediate removal of the executive committee, the club’s board of trustees has summoned the executive and main supporters’ committees to separate emergency meetings on Monday.
According to the trustees’ secretary Patrick Jumbe, the meetings will be followed by another indaba with all the supporters on Tuesday at their club house in Chichiri, Blantyre.
“With what has been happening of late, in particular the move by a section of the supporters to invade and lock up the sponsors’ [Be Forward Limited] offices, we have to take measures to stop this confusion which could affect sponsorship.
“No sponsor would be happy with such kind of situation. I know the supporters are not happy with some of the things happening at their team, but we need to take a cautious approach,” said Jumbe yesterday.
He also said the board has been critically examining the situation, culminating in a meeting which they had yesterday.
“The situation is not healthy at all and we need to act promptly. There are a number of issues that have come to our attention such as failure to pay the players and inconsistencies in the team’s performance and yet we enjoy sound sponsorship. This, obviously, should be a cause for worry. So, we want to get to the root cause to all this and, thereafter, we will make a determination.”
But the Nomads general secretary Mike Butao yesterday said if the supporters feel the executive has failed, they are ready to step down on condition that proper procedures are followed.
“Perhaps, they [supporters] can ask the trustees to call for an EGM [extraordinary general meeting] to conduct fresh elections. Otherwise, we cannot just abandon ship as we have other obligations such as finances that require proper handovers to avoid the sponsors’ wrath.
“The sponsors understand that the delay [to pay the players], has caused turmoil, but at the same time they are not happy with what has been happening over the past two months and is still happening now.
“Their name is being associated with violence, squabbles and negativity which is in contrast to our agreement. So, I appeal to every genuine Wanderers supporter that we need to forgo and put the players and the club first because we risk taking the club to where it was two years ago,” he said.
The Nomads GS also said they have assembled a quality and well-paid squad “which just needs time and a high-profile technical panel to come good, but all this will come to nothing if we lose sponsorship.
“These players get paid every month on the 15th, even though there is the occasional delay as was the case this month. But if we lose the sponsorship and fail to pay the players, they will claim breach of contract and leave. So, we need to be mindful of these facts.
“The sponsors are expected in the country early next month and we expect the players to voice out their concerns to them,” he said.
On his part, main supporters committee chairperson Yamikani Kaliyapa admitted in an interview with Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) yesterday that there is total chaos at Wanderers and that the future looks scary.
“I am disappointed with what is happening and frightened at the same time to the point that I have even stopped going to watch training.
“I was nearly beaten up by some supporters who came to the club house and I was whisked away by our treasurer, but my secretary [Wisdom Patel] was roughed up. When it gets to a situation whereby supporters lock up the sponsor’s office, then I have every reason to fear for the future.
“I tried to raise all these issues with the trustees through the executive for them to act, but nothing was done, all I can say is that there is nothing good happening at Wanderers,” he said.
On his part, former supporters committee chairperson Coxley Kamange said the problem is not with the coaches or players, but the executive.
“For how long are we going to fire and hire coaches? It points to one thing—the executive has failed us—and they must shoulder the blame and step down,” he said.
The Nomads are on eighth position in the 16-team league with 32 points from 22 games. Recently, they fired coach Eddingtone Ng’onamo and his assistant Elia Kananji who were replaced by Yasin ‘Titch’ Osman and Bob Mpinganjira, respectively. n