Nyasa Big Bullets FC main supporters committee secretary Mabvuto Chibambo says the club’s owners Nyasa Manufacturing Company will have to build a stadium as it is now evident that they will not own the stadium which government plans to build for them.
The development comes in the wake of consultations within the People’s Team on whether it will be necessary for the cigarette manufacturer to fulfil the stadium condition when there is already a commitment from government.
Building a stadium is one of the takeover conditions contained in the memorandum of understanding (MoU) which the cigarette manufacturer signed with Bullets’ takeover steering council three years ago.
Said Chibambo: “What is coming out very clearly is that the stadium will be government property under Malawi National council of Sports.
“This means that as per government regulations, 25 percent stadium levy will still have to be paid to government for every match.
“We cannot run away from that fact and, as such, the current owners must still build the stadium.”
He said when they signed the MoU, they made a commitment to ensure that all the terms will have to be fulfilled.
But while agreeing with Chibambo, Bullets supporters committee chairperson Stone Mwamadi, who doubles as director responsible for supporters in the team’s board of directors, said the issue will be discussed at board level.
He said: “Under the circumstances, the issue will be tabled at a board meeting. However, there has always been a commitment from Nyasa Manufacturing Company to meet all the takeover requirements.
“Even the supporters GS [Chibambo] can bear testimony that we went to Nkhumbe and other places together with NMC directors to look for land for the project.
“They are committed to fulfil all the terms, including constructing a clubhouse, but the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the plans.
“You will remember that even before former president Peter Mutharika donated a bus to the club, NMC had already committed about K100 million to buy a new one.”
About two months ago, the takeover steering council chairperson Noel Lipipa said they would embark on a consultation process with the team’s supporters in all the regions to get their input on the stadium issue.
However, in an interview yesterday, Lipipa, who is also the club’s director responsible for marketing, said the process has not started due to the Covid-19 pandemic as well as financial constraints.
Among other terms, NMC committed to take over the team’s verified and confirmed debts, which were estimated to be in excess of K183 million, which was fulfilled within the stipulated six months.
The others included acquiring a brand new bus within six months, constructing a stadium of not less than 10 000 seating capacity (five years), training ground (within a year), three clubs houses (one in each region) within three years, setting up an academy within a year and listing the People’s Team on Malawi Stock Exchange, most of which have not been fulfilled.
However, president of the club’s board Konrad Buckle said during a press conference in June that they have not failed to meet the takeover conditions as prescribed in the MoU.
He said: “It has been a massive undertaking [and] we have not failed. We have failed in a few areas, but it is not for the lack of trying. The board has got the welfare of the team at heart, it is a priority.”