While reports elsewhere say the replica jersey business is sinking because the merchandise is gathering dust on the shelves, Silver Strikers say they are yet to collect close to half of the sales of the merchandise from their agents, most of whom are the teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s supporters.
As a result, Silver have been unable to honour payments to the suppliers of the merchandise, Nsejjere Sports and Casual Wear of America.
SilverÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s experience has since forced Nsejjere to change approach in similar deals with Blantyre teams Mighty Wanderers, Big Bullets and Escom United that are selling through an agent, Kings Marketing.
Silver chairperson Dr McDonald Mafuta-Mwale said while their fans have scrambled for the merchandise on the market, their agents have let them down by failing to remit the money to the club.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Nsejjere gave us the right to source agents, but the agents are failing to give us the money though they have sold the merchandise. Most of them are our supporters and we wonder why they are sabotaging the initiative. It is the same bad practice of Malawian supporters wanting to benefit from their clubs,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Mafuta-Mwale.
SilverÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s consignment included 500 replica jerseys, 600 scarves and 1 000 caps, which were pegged at K2 000 (about $12), K1 000 (about $6) and K1 500 (about $10) each, respectively.
The club was entitled to a 33.3 percent commission of the proceeds.
From the figures above, it means the first consignment was worth K4.1 million (about $24 550) and SilverÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s cut was K1 365 300 (about $8 175).
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We will engage sheriffs to get back the money so that we fulfil our contractual obligation with the suppliers and get a second consignment,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Mafuta-Mwale
He added that they are only remaining with a few scarves and caps.
Nsejjere country director Jacob Chikoya said they hope Silver will remit the money soon so that they can get another consignment.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It seems that arrangement is a non-starter and that is why we have changed the approach. Bullets, Wanderers and Escom would also have been given the jerseys to sell on their own, but we will now be selling through our marketing agency to avoid delays in remitting the funds,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Chikoya.
Bullets chairperson Malinda Chinyama said it is unfair to change contractual obligations because of SilverÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s misfortunes.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“As Bullets, we are supposed to be selling the consignment on our own. We know our market and they would sell faster. We are engaging them to see if it can work so that we should be selling on our own,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Chinyama.
While Chinyama is optimistic about fast sales of the merchandise if done by the club itself, his vice-general secretary Higger Mkandawire on Sunday told Sunday Times that the sales are not in line with their expectations.
MkandawireÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s counterpart at Mighty Wanderers, Richard Kambalame, described ongoing sales of the merchandise as shocking and accused the teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s supporters of not doing enough to help the club.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I have gone to a number of shops selling our jerseys and the picture is very bad,Ã¢â‚¬Â Kambalame told the paper.
About the Blantyre teams not being aware of what the agents would sell on their behalf, Chikoya said that should not be a problem because the teams know the initial consignments that came in the country.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We have the records on the number of merchandise we cleared with MRA which were sent to the club and each club knows the amount of stuff it has and their percentage cut,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
According to Chikoya, Bullets got 1 060 jerseys, 513 scarves and 600 caps. EscomÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ consignments comprised 1 000 caps, 489 jerseys and 462 scarves whereas the NomadsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ order had 884 caps, 569 scarves and 413 jerseys.
The jerseys are selling at K3 990 (about $24) whereas the caps and scarves are going at K1 990 (about $12) each.
Meanwhile, Chikoya has said the three clubsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ jerseys are not selling well as they had projected.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The target was to sell all the stuff in eight weeks, but seven weeks down the line, we are yet to sell half of each teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s supply. We are yet to [find out] why we are failing to penetrate the market, but we believe it is because of the off season break,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.