Kamuzu Stadium manager Charles Mhango has slammed Football Association of Malawi (FAM) for creating an impression that the facilityâ€™s cashiers forced themselves on Saturdayâ€™s Standard Bank Knockout match between Big Bullets and Blantyre United.
FAM, through its chief executive officer Suzgo Nyirenda, told the print and electronic media on Monday that the stadiumâ€™s cashiers resisted the associationâ€™s arrangement to bring Standard Bank cashiers to operate the gates.
â€œJust imagine, why would these cashiers insist on working when we told them we had our own cashiers? It shows there is something wrong at the [gates],â€ Nyirenda was quoted as saying in The Daily Times on Monday.
But Mhango said it was the association that pleaded with the stadium management to still use its cashiers after the bank was unable to release its personnel. FAM announced on Wednesday that it would seek the bankâ€™s cashiersâ€™ help to minimise gate fraud.
â€œAfter FAMâ€™s announcement, I informed our cashiers on Friday that they would not be working on Saturday. Surprisingly, Casper Jangale called me around 9pm on Friday to put our cashiers on stand-by as there was an indication that the bank cashiers would not be available,â€ Mhango explained.
â€œSince FAMâ€™s word came in late, our people were, as instructed, unavailable on Saturday morning. I was also reluctant to get involved at this stage until Jangale, Pascal Nkuta, Christopher Ndolo followed me to my house asking me to bring our cashiers. I eventually called the cashiers one by one on the phone.â€
Mhango said FAM should have called for a stakeholders meeting to come to the bottom of gate fraud as this involves a syndicate; hence, it was wrong for the association to single out stadium cashiers. FAM still brought its tickets.
â€œFAM cannot accuse us of refusing to open the gates and that we brought our own cashiers when this is contrary to what happened. They cannot create an impression that our cashiers forced themselves on the gates when it was they who pleaded with us. Even if they had brought their cashiers, we could have opened the gates,â€ the stadium manager said.
Further problems occurred after the game as United refused to take K215 000 (about $860) as part of 50 percent share for each of the teams, claiming it was on the lower side. Mhango attributed Unitedâ€™s stance to the fact that FAM brought an invoice for payment of K203 000 (about $812) for the ticketsâ€™ printers.
â€œYou can imagine FAM getting K203 000 [$812] for the cost of printing the tickets, then claiming K176 000 [$about $704] as part of their 20 percent share from the gate takings. Blantyre Unitedâ€™s argument was that they could have earned more if there was a usual arrangement,â€ Mhango said.
Jangale on Monday admitted that he alerted Mhango on Friday about the unavailability of the bank cashiers after the financial institution had communicated the same to Nyirenda.
â€œI told him we would bring our tickets, but still needed their cashiers. But by 9am on Saturday, the stadium manager was no where to be seen. We eventually met him and he raised his concerns. The solution lies in us sitting down. It involves a syndicate and not only cashiers. It is a shared problem,â€ he concluded.