Despite having reserve sides to act as their feeder teams, TNM Super League giants Big Bullets, Be Forward Wanderers and Silver Strikers continued to undervalue the purpose of their junior sides as they continued to poach from other clubs.
Bullets chairperson Sam Chilunga concurred with Wanderers general secretary Mike Butao and his Silver Strikers counterpart Fred Kalonga that it was sad that they bought players from other clubs at around K3 million each, almost half of their reserve sides’ annual budget.
“It was a shame that we did not give our reserve side the much needed support and that we failed to promote some talent into our main team,” said Chilunga.
“But we have now learned from our mistakes as we plan to strengthen our reserve team.”
According to Chilunga, they would like to take their reserve side to heights.
“We have already put in place a budget of K500 000 per month for our reserve team next season. However, we will continue to buy players for the next two seasons because we will give the reserve team’s technical panel two years to start producing mature players,” he said.
On their part, Butao said Wanderers could not afford to promote players from their reserve side because most of them are yet to mature.
The Nomads GS said they spent K5 million to run their junior sides last season.
“We did not want to rush our junior players into the elite league,” he said.
Silver Strikers GS Kalonga said they were serious about supporting their reserve side, but lack of funding affected them.
“We use part of the resources for the senior team to provide support to the reserve team in terms of transport, equipment and meals. Approximately, we spent K5 million on the reserve side in two seasons,” Kalonga said.
Nevertheless, reserve sides have been beneficial to other Super League clubs such as Civo United and Azam Tigers.
Civo general secretary Charles Mwenda said they invested K2.5 million in the junior side per month and enjoyed the fruits.
After promoting almost half of their reserve team, they managed to win the Standard Bank Knockout Cup. n