Mighty Wanderers FC have been dealt a body blow following the resignation of their president and board chairperson Thom Mpinganjira.
The Nomads’ board secretary Humphrey Mvula confirmed the development in an interview yesterday, saying the philanthoropist and business mogul has quit because of the team’s poor performance and bickering within the board.
He said: “It is true. Basically, he is not happy with the performance of the team. He feels that despite everything that is being done, the team is not performing according to expectations.
“So, he thinks it is not a wealthwhile cause.
“The other crucial issue is that there has been a lot of bickering within the board and he feels no respect is being bestowed in the presidency.”
Mvula admitted that the decision has come as a big blow to the Nomads family as Mpinganjira was the main financier of the team, apart from sponsors Salima Sugar Company Limited.
On the way forward, the former Wanderers chairperson said: “As board secretary, I haven’t received the letter, suffice to say as an individual, I have also been targeted and undermined within the board.
“So, we will see what happens as we go along, but it is a crisis.”
The club’s supporters committee chairperson Mervin Nkunika, who is also a board member, said they were planning to go and meet Mpinganjira at Chichiri Prison in Blantyre yesterday.
He said: “This can’t be. The team is running now because of the president. He has single-handedly cleared all the players’ outstanding dues and has been paying their salaries since January.
“In fact, most of the operations are being funded by him and we cannot accept that a few misguided and greedy individuals should put the team in a mess just to advance their own personal interests.
“If we do not manage to convince him, then some of us will quit as well. This is a man who has continued to pump resources in the team despite being in jail.”
Mpinganjira’s resignation comes barely two days after the Nomads were thrashed 4-1 by arch-rivals Nyasa Big Bullets in the semi-finals of the Airtel Top 8 at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.
Mpinganjira was officially unveiled as the club’s president on July 22 this year after being approached by the club’s interim executive committee, commercialisation task force and supporters committee.
He was then appointed chairperson of a 24-member board a day later following the registration of the club as a limited liability company to mark the first step in turning the club from a community team into a commercial entity.
Mpinganjira did not promise them the moon when he was unveiled as president and sent out a word of caution that turning the Nomads into a fully-fledged commercial entity and football powerhouse would not be a stroll in the park.
He said he accepted the call to lead the club because he feared for its future after reading in newspapers about internal wrangles and financial constraints.
Mpinganjira has pumped in about K180 million, including K6.3 million monthly wage bill since January, game bonuses, training allowances for the main team, reserve and youth sides.
He also paid K3.7 million to Blantyre City Council to settle the Nomads’ outstanding property rates for their clubhouse after it was sealed in October.
Recently, Mpinganjira cleared the players’ outstanding game bonuses amounting to K10.2 million and salaries for bar workers, team bus repairs, ground rentals and allowances for reserve team players amounting to about K2.5 million.