Be Forward Wanderers FC annual revenue from matches and other channels, excluding sponsorship money, has dropped by K81 million, representing about 56.3 percent slump.
In his financial report presented during the club’s executive committee elections in Blantyre on Sunday, immediate-past treasurer Robert Mbedza said the Nomads collected K63 million in the 2019 season compared to K144 million in 2018.
Going into specifics, he said gate revenue for the 2019 season was K43 million down from K79 million in 2018, representing a 45.5 percent drop.
Mbedza attributed the drop to poor patronage at their matches.
He said the supporters might have developed a phobia on patronising their matches due to frustrations over some recent controversies surrounding financial mismanagement at the club and their struggles on the pitch that led to failure to win any silverware last season.
“In the just-ended season, Wanderers supporters were not very much committed to patronising our games and, as a result, our revenue has dropped. Let us hope to have a wonderful season in 2020,” Mbedza said.
He further said the Nomads operated beyond their means in the 2019 season as their budget was K220 million, but expenditure was about K250.3 million.
He said the K63 million collection plus K158 million from their sponsors Japanese second hand car dealers Be Forward Limited, brought the team’s total revenue to K221 million.
“We had a deficit of K29 million to run the club as a result of this development, forcing us to turn to loan-sharks that charged 50 percent interest,” he said.
Mbedza said the money was spent on various operations, including players’ training allowances, game bonuses, new signings, travel, food, accommodation, salaries, ground rentals, security, stationery, legal charges, auditors and youth teams.
New Nomads executive committee chairperson Simon Sikwese said they would conduct an investigation to find out what led to the drop in collections before strategising on how to improve their revenue next season.
“We need to find out what were the reasons for the drop in revenue. Was it because our supporters boycotted our games? If that was the case, then why was it that other clubs were making money from the same games?
“We must also look at how the money was managed. Once we do such a fact-finding initiative, we will see how to move ahead,” he said.
Sikwese’s predecessor Gift Mkandawire regretted that they turned to usury (katapira) to satisfy their ambitious spending. He has since advised the new committee to avoid the practice at all cost.
“The mistake we made during our time was to operate above our budget. This made our life difficult because we were forced to fetch for money and the easiest way was to accept usury whose cost was too high because if we had gone through banks, there would have been need for collateral and all sorts of things,” he said.
Mkandawire said the new executive committee should avoid usury.
He said: “What kill us are ambitions. The new committee, for example, might say let us get [Yamikani] Chester back no matter what the cost to get the championship.
“The supporters can demand results, but the committee should bite the bullet; they should get the youth that are not costly into the system and start it slow. After a year or two, the team would be somewhere.”
Meanwhile, Sikwese has since said they will no longer deal with loan sharks to ensure the smooth running of the TNM Super League runners-up. “We will have to do away with the practice as part of instilling financial discipline in the team,” he said.