It does not rain but pours for TNM Super League defending champions Be Forward Wanderers who have revealed plans to trim the squad to cut expenses, just 10 weeks into the 2018 season.
The revelation comes at a time the team is going through a bad patch on the field of play.
The Nomads, who were knocked out of the Airtel Top 8 by rivals Nyasa Big Bullets on Saturday, lie 12th on the TNM Super League log table.
Wanderers chairperson Gift Mkandawire revealed plans to trim the squad, after some supporters accused his executive of mismanaging the Be Forward Limited’s K153 million sponsorship and gate revenue.
He said: “We registered 34 players and their salaries are a bit higher than other clubs. That is why we want to cut some expenses by trimming the squad to at least 30. Our monthly wage bill is K11.6 million. We do not get our K153 million sponsorship in full. They give as monthly chunks. This means every year, on salaries and rentals alone we spend K139 million and we end up having a balance of K14 million for operations. This is not even enough though.”
At first the blame for the team’s poor performance was on the players and technical panel.
But now the blame game has shifted to the executive committee.
However, Mkandawire said it was not true that his executive committee was mismanaging funds as suggested by supporters.
“Money from sponsors comes straight into Wanderers main bank account. Revenue from gate collections is banked into the same account by either Super League of Malawi or Football Association o Malawi. The sponsors are happy with the way we use the funds and that is why year after year our sponsorship keeps increasing.
“When we delay to pay bonuses or signing on fees it is because of the huge wage bill we have and not because the money is misallocated or abused.
“Every supporter should note this. As an executive we are trying hard to decrease the wage bill by trimming the squad and also to increase revenues by identifying other sources of revenues,” he said.
But one of the supporters, Kim Kamau, accused the executive of trying to silence critics.
“Why should a big club like Wanderers, with good sponsorship, go for katapila [usury]?We recently had to contribute funds as supporters to pay Lucky Malata’s K300 000 balance of signing on fee. If things are okay why did that happen?” he said.
Mkandawire however, said the supporters’ claims of mismanaging funds were contributing to the team’s poor performance.
“Such lies are unfortunately personal and deliberately meant to tarnish hardworking people’s images for personal reasons. They are demotivating, divisive and have the potential to erode confidence in our management which could affect performance and also cast doubt in the sponsor’s minds,” he said.
Football analyst Charles Nyirenda said the situation at Wanderers was a result of the team’s poor performance and failure to manage the situation.
“If the team was doing well, I don’t think any of this could have come out. I think Wanderers have a big problem when it comes to managing a crisis. There is too much blame game instead of looking at the root cause of the problem. This is not time to start shifting blames. Let them sit down and find out the problem and solve it.”
On the team’s decision to trim the squad, Nyirenda said this should have been done before the season kicked off.