Be Forward Wanderers, Nyasa Big Bullets, Silver Strikers and Blue Eagles dominated domestic football in the just-ended decade, having jointly collected a majority of the trophies, Weekend Nation has established.
Between 2010 and 2019, a total of 32 trophies were competed for and the four teams shared 24. Wanderers were the most successful having won eight trophies, Bullets followed with seven, Silver raked in five while Eagles got four.
In an interview, Wanderers chairperson Gift Mkandawire attributed the success to an effective player recruiting strategy.
In that period, Wanderers won one league title and seven trophies, including two Carlsberg cups and two Standard Bank Cups.
“Most of the players that played for us in the past 10 years were passionate about football and not necessarily money. They include Joseph Kamwendo and Alfred Manyozo Jnr. This is an ingredient that lacks in most teams that are failing to succeed,” Mkandawire said.
The Nomads rivals Bullets won the league title four times, the Carlsberg Cup twice and the Presidential Cup.
Both Wanderers and Bullets were without sponsors for the larger part of the decade. Mkandawire said the fact that the two teams still scooped nearly half of the trophies means it does not only take riches to succeed.
“It is about determination and putting in place proper structures,” he said.
Football analyst Mike Tembo observed that several factors contributed to the teams’ success.
“The Bankers, Nomads and Bullets will have most of their games filled up and make better incomes than the rest of the club. A club can have sponsorship, but that additional money made during games is very important,” he said.
Tembo further pointed out that the top clubs are weighed by a burden of high expectations from the supporters, an element the unsuccessful do not have.
“The followers may not be involved in the planning, but they set the unwritten goals for the club and the players,” he said.
On his part, Super League of Malawi president Tiya Somba-Banda pointed out that sound sponsorship, focused leadership and supporters played a part in the four teams’ successes.
“Sponsorship isn’t the only thing but strong leadership that is able to focus in the midst of adversity is key in building winning teams. Supporters also play a big role in steering trophy winning teams. Their positive contribution in the teams’ strategic direction is a great support system,” he said.
The other teams that won trophies are Civil Sporting Club and Kamuzu Barracks (KB) two each while Masters Security, Mafco, Moyale and disbanded Escom United each won a single cup.
Civil, formerly Civo United, gets reasonable sponsorship from the Office of President and Cabinet and is among few clubs with a stadium. But some four years ago, the club was relegated, probably the worst debacle in its history. They maintained their top flight league status after Epac relinquished their place.
The last time Civo won a trophy was five years ago when they beat Wanderers in the Standard Bank Cup final.
The Lilongwe outfit’s general secretary Ronald Chiwaula blamed their struggles on poor recruitment policy.
Under that set-up, he said they have ended up roping in other clubs’ rejects that are not passionate about the club.
“We have tried so many ways to improve our performances but nothing has been achieved. It is now time to go back to the original Civo where our priority and main business was football development. We will immediately stop recruiting recycled players from other clubs,” he said.
Malawi Defence Force (MDF) teams also enjoy government sponsorship, but apart from KB, the rest—including Red Lions, Moyale Barracks and Mafco, had nothing to show off.