Be Forward Wanderers’ fundraising initiative targeting K100 million per month for the club’s operations is not meeting expectations as it has raised about K4 million since the drive started two months ago.
The club’s chairperson Symon Sikwese yesterday said this is a setback for the Lali Lubani Road outfit, considering that the money raised so far includes K1 million from President Lazarus Chakwera and K500 000 from Minister of Youth and Sports Ulemu Msungama.
The development comes at a time other TNM Super League clubs such as Mighty Tigers, Karonga United, Chitipa United, Mzuzu Warriors and Ekwendeni Hammers are also struggling in their fundraising initiatives.
Sikwese said they fear for the club’s future with the Be Forward Limited sponsorship ending at the end of the month.
“The response towards the [Noma Yathu, Noma Yanga] initiative from our fans has not been to our expectation. It has not been embraced,” he said.
“The K4 million made in the past two months or so has gone towards clearing and signing the new players we got from Silver Strikers, players’ allowances and other administrative issues.
“The future looks gloomy because we need to fulfill our contractual obligations.”
The Nomads chairperson said that the situation would not have been scary had the supporters been forthcoming.
He said they are now planning to meet the players to plead for their understanding as they look for potential sponsors.
“If nothing comes up in the next few months, I can foresee the club’s operations being at a standstill because we do not want to incur any more debts,” said Sikwese.
He also said they have requested for a transitional package from their outgoing sponsor to keep the club afloat.
Wanderers need at least K250 million to run the club for a season.
On why could be the reasons for the fans’ lukewarm response to their fundraising drive, Sikwese said: “It could be the fear of accountability. They might still doubt if their funds will be used for the intended purpose because we are still haunted by how funds were managed previously.
“So, even when we say money won’t end up in people’s pockets, they still doubt.”
Team captain Alfred Manyozo Jnr said they have no choice, but to accept the situation on the ground for now.
“As players, we hoped that supporters, being the owners of the team, would embrace our initative. But then, we can’t force them [fans] to contribute towards the cause. However, they need to understand that a team can only do well if it has a sound financial standing,” he said.
Meanwhile, Tigers, Karonga United, Chitipa United, Mzuzu Warriors and Ekwendeni Hammers have also lamented poor support from well-wishers.
Said Tigers chairperson Sydney Chikoti: “So far, I can say we are surviving on funds raised from well-wishers and the Covid-19 Relief Funds we got from FAM. At present, it is hard to engage in fundraising activities and we just hope that things will improve soon.”
Karonga United general secretary Ramzy Simwaka, his Mzuzu Warriors counterpart Donnex Chilonga and Chitipa United vice-general secretary Marshal Mwenechanya said they are also relying on community support, but they are planning to intensify their income-generating activities, especially replica jersey sales.
“We did not meet our target from replica jersey sales last season, but we hope things will change for the better as we have ordered another consignment for this season,” said Simwaka.
On their part, Ntopwa FC have started the production of malambe and bwemba juice, apart from signing a K5 million partnership with micro-finance company Tamarh Consult last month.
The club’s owner and technical director Isaac ‘Jomo’ Osman said they hope their initiatives will sustain the club.
Football analyst George Kaudza Masina said fundraising initiatives are cannot work without clubs civic-educating their supporters first.
He said: “Firstly, there was a need for clubs to civic-educate their fans on the fundraising drives. The most unfortunate part is that most supporters do not have a sense of belonging to their clubs and do not see the value of supporting their teams financially.
“For example, Wanderers were supposed to first come out clearly on the status of their previous initiatives, whose funds were allegedly misappropriated by their previous general secretary in order to instill confidence in the supporters.”