It continues to pour for Tigresses Netball Club as they have been chased from their training ground (College of Medicine) due to outstanding bills and they do not have transport money to take them to Lilongwe for Presidential Netball Championships title defence this Friday.
The team’s manager Hellene Mpinganjira confirmed to The Nation on Monday that her club has now relocated to Blantyre Youth Centre (BYC).
College of Medicine (CoM) Sports Complex has been Tigresses’ base from the time the former president Bingu wa Mutharika started sponsoring them in 2009.
Mpinganjira said they owe the Sports Complex undisclosed amount of money as training fees dating back to April 2012 when Bingu died.
The team used to pay K5 000 (about $12.50) per hour to train at CoM.
“We have now been forced to settle for the BYC which offers a slighter charge for training. But still, we continue to incur more debts as days go by,” said Mpinganjira.
She also said they have no funds for their transport to the national finals of the Presidential contest scheduled for Malawi Police Services (MPS) headquarters in Lilongwe from this Friday to Sunday.
Mpinganjira said this is the reason they are pleading with Mutharika’s Bineth Trust, which terminated Mutharika’s K10 million (about $25 000) annual sponsorship to the team few weeks ago, to at least release the bus the former president gave them.
She said her team continues to struggle to survive because the Trust, which is led by Mutharika’s daughter Tapiwa, is not coming out clear to reply to their letter concerning the debts they accumulated before the sponsorship was curtailed.
“We have made several attempts to meet them to clear the future of our sponsorship agreements, but it seems they are not willing to do so. At present, we are facing a lot of problems beyond our control and we are handicapped,” she said.
Tapiwa did not answer her mobile phone when The Nation sought for her comment on the issue while one of her aides Chisomo Ng’ombe refused to comment on the issue.
However, Mpinganjira said Ng’ombe told her that the Mutharika family had no time to discuss the matter due to frequent court appearances its members are making pertaining to the former president’s wealth.
Mutharika started sponsoring Tigresses after he hosted them at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe where he changed the team’s name to Bingu Tigresses.
During the ceremony, Mutharika gave the club an initial K10 million sponsorship, a new bus and K100 000 (about $2 500) to each player.