Old habits die hard. Nyasa Big Bullets is failing to reimburse midfielder Chikondi Likwemba who paid for his treatment after sustaining a fractured collarbone in a friendly match against Dynamos of Zimbabwe in March.
The TNM Super League champions promised to reimburse about K500 000 ($693) medical bill, but the club has failed to honour the pledge.
Part of the money was from a K380 000 ($527) loan Likwemba got from a friend. Now the player is in trouble after the friend threatened to confiscate his property if he does not settle the debt.
The player has since written the club asking for urgent assistance.
“As you all know that I paid the medical bills for myself with an agreement that the club will refund me, I have an urgent crisis which has to be sorted out immediately. On that amount of money paid to the hospital, I borrowed K380 000 from a friend thinking that I will be able to pay back in a month’s time. I had hopes that it will be done within that period. But since I haven’t been refunded, it has come to a point that I may start losing my property from my house as he wants his money. I, therefore, kindly ask your honourable office to bail me out from this crisis as it doesn’t look good on me and my family at the moment,” Likwemba’s letter reads in part.
But the club has indicated that it is in a financial crisis and cannot refund the player.
“I do know that we have an obligation to settle Likwemba. Unfortunately, our financial position is in negative. Up to today, salaries and bonuses have not been paid. My assurance is that we will pay as soon as the money is available,” the club’s head of finance committee Isaac Norman responded.
This is not the first time the club has neglected the injured player’s welfare.
While Likwemba resorted to use his money for treatment, Vincent Gona had to wait for over 10 months as the club was failing to pay K3 million medical bill at Beit Cure International for the goalkeeper to undergo an operation.
The issue of players’ medical cover has been one of Super League of Malawi (Sulom) initiatives.
However, clubs have failed to embrace it for over a season now despite Medical Aid Society of Malawi (Masm) giving it a green light.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) also tried to introduce a Players Welfare Fund, but clubs resisted to remit their share from gate collections. FAM has since shelved the programme to next season.
Two weeks ago, the players’ medical cover issue resurfaced at the Sulom annual general meeting in Lilongwe.
Azam Tigers chairperson Sydney Chikoti stressed the need to embrace the medical cover which would lessen the burden of paying bills when a player is injured.