With the current season heading towards the end, old-age rivals Mighty Wanderers and Big Bullets, who are chasing the ultimate Carlsberg Malawi sponsorship, have differed on how they are planning for the aftermath.
Carlsberg Malawi announced in May that Wanderers and Bullets would compete for the ultimate sponsorship based on discipline, fair play and performance.
While the Nomads said on Thursday that they have no plan B in the event that they are left in the cold, Bullets said they would not want to be caught off-guard and are exploring other avenues.
Interestingly, in terms of performance, none of the teams has a realistic edge over the other. They have both won a major cup each.
Bullets won the Presidential Cup whereas Wanderers clinched the Standard Bank Knockout Trophy.
Nomads’ ever upbeat general secretary David Kanyenda said the blue side of town believes it is on track to secure the ultimate sponsorship.
“Let us not speculate that we shall be left out. The sponsors will decide on whether to pick one or both teams, or whether to extend the trial period or, indeed, drop both teams.
“So, many permutations are possible. [But] on our part, we have endeavoured to fulfil the three performance indicators and we are proud to be associated with a brand as successful as Carlsberg has been in Malawi,” said Kanyenda.
He said the Nomads have so much belief in themselves that in the end they will come out triumphant.
Bullets chairperson Malinda Chinyama said they are not leaving anything to chance.
“At this stage, it is tricky to determine which team is on course to land the sponsorship.
“But I would say yes, we are exploring other avenues because we would not want to be caught off-guard,” said Chinyama.
He said apart from coming up with plans to turn the team into a commercial entity, they are also hunting for other corporate partners, which he said was not easy to make a breakthrough.
Like Kanyenda, Chinyama also said he believes Bullets are on course to win the Carlsberg sponsorship contest based on the three factors.
The two teams also said they are aware that the result of tomorrow’s showdown will play a vital role in the ultimate sponsorship race.
The country’s biggest teams will take their rivalry back to the ceremonial home of football, Kamuzu Stadium, and it could prove to be a high stakes match.
“Obviously, we cannot rule out the possibility of the ultimate winner being determined by head-to-head in the event that we tie in terms of performance,” said Kanyenda.
But Chinyama said his side, who still have hopes of winning their first league title after eight years, have a score to settle when they host the Nomads tomorrow.
“Wanderers should not feel proud to have beaten us in the [semi-final of] Standard Bank Knockout Trophy because penalties are a lottery as they can go either way. However, we are determined to make amends by winning Sunday’s showdown,” said Chinyama.
Carlsberg Malawi senior brands manager (alcoholics) Twikale Chirwa said at this stage it is premature to state which of the two giants has an edge over the other.
“But suffice to say the race has reached a very interesting stage and the excitement is compelling. We will have to wait until the end of the season because apart from performance, there are two other factors that will been taken into consideration and these are fairplay and discipline,” said Chirwa.
Interestingly, Bullets are currently third in the flagship league standing with 39 points from 21 games. They are just a step above Nomads who are trailing by four points from the same number of games.
In the Carlsberg Cup, Wanderers lost to Blue Eagles in the quarter-finals while Bullets were shown the exit in the round of 16 by Mzuzu-based Super Eagles.