Age-old rivals Big Bullets and Mighty Wanderers say their 2001 pact against poaching top players from each is no longer valid.
This comes in the wake of Wanderers’ recent declaration to sign Bullets player of the moment Gabadinho Mhango after the striker punished the Nomads with a double in Bullets’ 3-0 win in a recent Super League derby.
The development has brought to test the validity of the pact that was signed on December 2 2001 after a two-month long controversy and violence following the move of left-winger McDonald Yobe from Wanderers to Bullets.
The two sides led by their then chairpersons Humphrey Mvula for Wanderers and Hassam Jussab signed a peace pact which indicated that the two teams would never poach top players from each other
“ .. with immediate effect, both teams shall no longer approach players from either side with the objective of enticing them to play for the other side nor would officials from either of these teams exert pressure or moral persuasion to force a player to move to wither of the two clubs,” read part of the statement as published by The Nation of Monday, November 5 2001.
But the two clubs current general secretaries said in separate interviews that the pact no longer exists and they are free to poach from each other.
Bullets general secretary Higger Mkandawire said they follow the international players transfer free-market system, whereby players are free to move to clubs that they want to play for.
“So, if any of our player wants to move to Wanderers, we will not block them as long as they [Nomads] meet our demands and the same should apply when a player from their side wants to join us,” said Mkandawire.
His Wanderers counterpart David Kanyenda said the pact was there all along, but was breached by Bullets when they signed Henry Kabichi from them in 2011.
“Bullets breached it when they took Kabichi from us. It is indeed not good for us to create unnecessary tension among our supporters by poaching each other’s top players, but they started it and we are just following suit,” said Kanyenda.
However, Sulom general secretary Williams Banda said Kabichi was not necessarily poached by Bullets, saying it was because of technical issues that forced him to cross the floor.
“Technically, Kabichi was not owned by Wanderers. He belonged to Blackpool. So, there was no direct poaching of the player by Bullets from Wanderers.
“As Sulom, we support a free market where teams are free to buy from any team, but let them follow proper procedures before approaching the players which does not happen in such high-profile deals,” said Banda.
Since Yobe’s controversial deal, only low-profile players and out-of-favour players have managed to switch between the two camps on either loan or free-transfer deals.