While it appears rosy on the pitch for Big Bullets FC, behind the scenes serious divisions have resurfaced within the executive committee between a group loyal to chairperson Sam Chilunga and general secretary Titha Mandiza.
The bone of contention is the K16 million gross revenue realised in last Saturday’s Blantyre derby against Be Forward Wanderers at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.
Mandiza and supporters committee secretary Mabvuto Chibambo came out with their guns blazing yesterday, accusing Chilunga and vice-general secretary Kelvin Moyo of being behind the players’ petition to demand their removal and that of supporters committee treasurer Bruce Tambwali.
“I have heard that there is a petition signed by the players demanding my removal, but I know that all this is being orchestrated by Kelvin and Sam Chilunga to advance their own interests.
“Kelvin is bitter that I issued instructions that we should not hire his firm—TopSports—to be manning the gates and he is now conspiring with the chairperson [Chilunga] to oust us by cooking up stories regarding the firm [Joka Investments] which was hired to man the gates during the derby, but they won’t succeed because I was elected into office unlike them,” said Mandiza.
On his part, Chibambo said: “It is these two [Chilunga and Moyo] who forced the players to sign the petition and some of the players have confided in us, and they better be prepared to fight to the very end.”
Chilunga could not be reached for comment yesterday, but Moyo laughed off the duo’s claims.
“I do not want to be part of this mudslinging in the press. To begin with, I am no longer a member of TopSports, I resigned when I was appointed vice-GS for Bullets and I have never used my position to influence any decision on which firm should be hired to man the gates.
“If they had issues, I would have expected them to follow proper procedures. As GS, I report to her [Mandiza] and I have no reason to sabotage her,” said Moyo.
However, the club’s team manager Rahim Ishmael confirmed having been served with the players’ petition demanding the immediate resignation of Mandiza, Chibambo and Tambwali in connection with the hiring of the firm that handled gate collections during the derby.
He also confirmed that the players are boycotting training since yesterday.
“I was just served with the petition by the players yesterday [Tuesday] morning and they are saying unless their demands are met, they will be boycotting training. However, for details, you should get in touch with the players themselves,” said Ishmael.
The club’s captain Fischer Kondowe could not be reached for comment yesterday, but one of the players who asked for anonymity confirmed signing the petition, saying they are annoyed with reports that some members of the main supporters committee benefited from the proceeds of the match.
“We know that our job is to play football, but the club owes us a lot in outstanding dues and the agreement was that we would be paid from the proceeds of the Wanderers match,” he said.