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Malawi’s Soccer Clubs Struggle To Overcome Financial Woes

Most Malawi Super League clubs are struggling to finance their operations, officials say, citing narrow resource bases.

Most Malawi Super League clubs are struggling to finance their operations, officials say, citing narrow resource bases.

The 2020 Malawian Super League season was due to kick off on March 21 but was suspended at the eleventh hour due to the coronavirus epidemic that has hit the South African country.

The clubs without shirts sponsors mainly rely on gate collection most of which goes to the players’ salaries. Only Nyasa Big Bullets and Be Forward Wanderers rake in millions from gate collections especially during the derby, while the other clubs get paltry returns owing to a dismal fan-base.

With the narrow resource base, financing an entire season is even harder for self-supporting clubs like Chitipa United which relies on well-wishers. According to its vice-secretary Marshall Mwenyechanya, the team future of the club was now hanging in limbo.

“We survive through individual contributions from some well-wishers in Chitipa district. Other supporters also help the club after selling pumpkins and maize. But that is not happening anymore,” Mwenyechanya said in an interview with The Daily Times.

“The going is getting tough with this Coronavirus attack. Nothing is working here we need the government to help us sustain the teams as no revenue is being generated. It is not a lie that most Super League teams rely on gate revenue but we have no option because football just like any other sporting activity has been suspended.”

The club is eyeing several corporates for sponsorship, but like many others it faces challenges trying to sell itself.

“Being relatively unknown has made securing a sponsor harder, but we are currently looking at several partners in efforts to ease the financial burden,” Mwenyechanya added.

Few others like Big Bullets, Wanderers, Silver Strikers, Kamuzu Barracks, Azam Rangers, CIVO United and Moyale Barracks are lucky to have the government, corporate companies or shirt sponsors foot their bills.

But despite the finances, Wanderers General Secretary Victor Maunde said they were heavily affected by the pandemic.

“We are already two months into the second year of our three year sponsorship but we haven’t yet kicked football. This means we will end up using money which we did not budget for as dates for the kick-off of the league are still unknown,” Maunde said.

“This is pathetic as we can’t make a proper budget. We are calling on the government to step in and give us a certain package to keep the players. The players have families and need money for their upkeep.”

Football Association of Malawi (FAM) has so far tried to support the clubs in these difficult times. Last Thursday, the body reviewed the status of the effect of the Coronavirus of Super League outfits by giving the clubs a chance to withdraw the K1,000,000 (One Million Malawi Kwacha) paid as Club Licensing commitment fee.

The FAM General Secretary Alfred Gunda said money would go towards supporting key expenditures the clubs are incurring as a result of the football season suspension.

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