Like a snail, Malawi Telecommunications Limited (MTL) has recoiled into its shell by withdrawn indefinitely from football sponsorship, crashing hopes of five desperate clubs that waited for almost two years.
MTL corporate affairs manager Tina Das confirmed the pull-out on Tuesday, a day after Carlsberg Malawi Limited, a company under conglomerate Press Corporations Limited (PCL), unveiled Mighty Wanderers and Big Bullets’s year-long sponsorship at K15 million (about $38 000) each.
“In recent months, our company has undertaken an exhausted process of re-evaluating our sponsorship, social and support strategy. The outcome of the strategic reviews was to concentrate our social support activities on long-term economic development activities to a broader scope of stakeholders in order to benefit a wider sector of the society,” Das said in a statement to The Nation.
“It is with this fact that we regret to notify that football sponsorship is no longer our area of focus at the moment and that we will no longer continue to sponsor football. We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude for the overwhelming response that we received on the tender invitation and to apologise once again for the delay in communicating our decision to you.”
While Bullets and Wanderers are relieved with Carlsberg’s continued support, other teams that in 2011 bid for the MTL sponsorship, namely Blantyre United, Escom United and Chikhwawa United have been left in the cold.
In separate interviews, Chikhwawa chairperson Owen Chomanika and his United counterpart Lawson Nakoma said the delayed announcement has made matters worse for them ahead of the new season.
MTL has communicated its decision to FAM but the affected clubs were yet to get the letter.
“Since our counterparts [Bullets and Wanderers] have been picked, we were still hopeful of MTL sponsorship. Their announcement leaves us out in the cold. We expect people in the private sector not to behave like those in the public sector who take took long to make decisions. This puts us in an awkward position,” said Nakoma.
Chomanika bemoaned the fact that it took them so much time and energy to produce what he felt was an irresistible proposal.
Earlier, Bullets chairperson Malinda Chinyama reserved his comment while FAM president Walter Nyamilandu confirmed MTL’s pull-out.
Das, who claimed to have informed the affected teams, could not justify MTL’s delay save for the apology.
MTL withdrew its sponsorship for Wanderers in 2010.