Bsiness mogul and philanthropist Thom Mpinganjira has come to the rescue of Be Forward Wanderers by pumping in K20.2 million to cover 50 percent of players’ salaries for four months.
In an interview yesterday, the FDH Financial Holdings Limited founder and majority shareholder said he made the gesture in his personal capacity as a Wanderers long-time supporter.
Mpinganjira said: “I have been a Wanderers fan for a long time since the days when they were called Yamaha Wanderers and I used to watch their games with my wife.
“So, I was touched to read about their current situation and decided to assist. Hopefully, more supporters of the team will also come in to assist.
“At one point I was a paid-up member, but I stopped patronising their matches due to rising cases of violence. So this money is from my pocket. It is not from FDH Bank Plc or Thomson & Barbara Mpinganjira Foundation.”
He said in essence the money covers full salaries for two months.
The business mogul said as a Wanderers fan he cherishes the 1985 Kamuzu Cup final between the Nomads and Silver Strikers at Kamuzu Stadium.
“We were trailing 1-0 and many Wanderers fans had already left the stadium when we grabbed a dramatic late equaliser after a defensive error by Mathews Phiri. I will live to cherish that match,” said Mpnganjira.
The Nomads went on to win the replay 2-0 in Lilongwe.
In a statement issued by the club’s chairperson Simon Sikwese yesterday, Wanderers said Mpinganjira has made the gesture following an SOS sounded by the executive committee to supporters and various stakeholders.
Reads the statement: “One of the long-time Wanderers supporters Dr. Thomson Mpinganjira, in his personal capacity and concerned with the the welfare of the players and officials in this difficult time of Covid-19, has volunteered to support the club with the payment of 50 percent of their salaries for four months.
“The players have not been receiving their salaries since December 2020 although they were at 50 percent of their normal rates. With this development, it means that the players will be paid December 2020, January and February 2021 arrears and they will be certain to be paid in March 2021.”
Sikwese said to ensure that the money goes straight to the players, payment is going to be made directly into the players and officials accounts for easy accountability and tracking.
“We greatly appreciate the gesture made by Dr. Mpinganjira and we are calling on other well-wishers to help the team in this time of need,” he said.
The Nomads are without a sponsor after parting ways with Japanese reconditioned motor vehicle dealers Be Forward Limited last month, who were pumping in $200 000 (about K157.2 million) per season.
On the progress made in the hunt for a new sponsor, Sikwese said: “We are still reaching out to potential sponsors, but with the Covid-19 situation it is proving to be a challenge.”