Escom United have said they will ask the Super League of Malawi (Sulom) to bar Big Bullets from using their three key players starting this weekend unless they pay the K6 million (about $24 000) transfer fees.
The trioâ€”midfielders Chimango Kaira and James Chilapondwa and veteran forward Heston Munthaliâ€”was loaned to the Bullets at the start of the season and has been at the heart of the teamâ€™s dramatic resurgence.
Escom chairperson Fanuel Nkhono said both Bullets and Sulom need to treat the issue as a commercial transaction.
â€œThe loan period for all the three players has since elapsed and what Bullets are doing by continuing to use them is defying commercial transaction.
â€œSo, we are going to write Sulom asking them to bar Bullets from featuring the players as per the loan agreement,â€ said Nkhono Wednesday.
Nkhono said he was supposed to meet Bullets general secretary Higger Mkandawire to discuss the K6 million offer that was made on the three players.
â€œAs we said, the K6 million [$24 000] offer is a fair deal and all that Bullets were supposed to do was issue a cheque and they will have all the three players on permanent basis.
â€œIf you look at the terms, then these players are not supposed to continue playing for them and Sulom are supposed to apply the rules. If your passport has expired then you cannot use it and it is therefore unfair for Bullets to continue using these players in such circumstances,â€ said Nkhono.
However, Bullets general secretary Higger Mkandawire expressed surprise with the development.
â€œI am surprised because I was trying to meet Nkhono so that we could complete the negotiations. Apparently everytime I called him he claimed to be busy.
â€œIt is news therefore to hear that they are planning to ask Sulom to bar us from using the players when we have not yet concluded the negotiations,â€ said Mkandawire.
The Bullets GS said their position remains that they would want to sign the three players outright.
â€œAll the three players want to join us, but we want to bargain on the transfer fee because we feel it is on the higher side. Escom need to realise that the rights of the players need to be respected,â€ argued Mkandawire.
Sulom president Innocent Bottomani said they will only act upon getting official communication from Escom.
â€œHowever, our hope is that the two parties will reach an amicable agreement and that the players will not be affected,â€ said Bottomani.
Escom pegged Kaira at K3.5 million while Munthali and Chilapondwa were fixed at K1.5 (about $6 000) and K1m (about $4 000) respectively.
The three players were instrumental in ending the Peoples Teamâ€™s lengthy silverware drought by winning the Presidential Cup.