- To provide starter pack for CAF tourney
Super League of Malawi (Sulom) says from next season they will provide the Super League champions with a starter pack for CAF Champions League participation.
But analysts have observed that the league-runners are treating symptoms rather than the disease since clubs financial woes are a result of failing to turn the top-flight league professional.
Local clubs struggle to participate in CAF competitions due financial problems and Sulom has been under pressure to intervene.
The impact of local team’s absence from CAF competitions was felt when over the weekend, champions Be Forward Wanderers, who almost pulled out of the Champions League due to financial problems, were humiliated 4-0 by AS Vita of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on their return to the competition after 17 years.
Sulom treasurer Tiya Somba-Banda said it was high time the league-runners stepped in.
“We need to take some sort of sacrifice for our clubs to consistently play in CAF of which I believe will go a long way in improving our standard of play in general. The ripple effects of CAF participation are enormous to the country reaching far beyond football, to other sectors of the economy,” he said.
Asked where the cash-strapped organisation—which struggles even to pay referees—will source the funds, Somba-Banda said they will use gate revenue.
He said: “We will rearrange the sharing of the gate revenues. For instance, if we have five percent of gate revenues going towards CAF participation for the champions, then each and every club is guaranteed of playing in CAF regardless of their financial position.
“For example, in 2017 season we collected K484 million from the gates, five percent of this is K24 million. This is a big push to a club for CAF participation. This is sustainable plus our clubs will not be at the mercy of sponsors or the league.”
However, Fifa player intermediary and consultant Felix Ngamanya Sapao said there is need for an overhaul of the league and club’s set up in terms of organisation and operations.
“The investment, mindset and approach to the game has to change. I watched Wanderers prepare for this match. I arranged the friendly with HCB Songo and arranged for the players and technical team to watch two AS Vita games against DC Motema Pembe and against AS Rangers. Our colleagues have performance analysts who evaluate player performance using technology and study the opposition in the technical team.
“I have interacted with clubs when they prepare for continental football thanks to my association Lagadere Sports who organise the group stages of both the CAF Champions League and CAF Confederation Cup. Just last year I was in charge of all Caps United games. Same way, I have in the past handled Dynamos FC, TP Mazembe, Zanaco and Zesco United CAF games and preparations.
“The mindset and approach of Zambian and Zimbabwean clubs is very different to what I saw locally. The setup and budget is directed by the approach to the preparations to the fixtures,” he said
Sapao sighted poor sponsorship package and prize money for the league.
“The investment from sponsors in Zambia and Zimbabwe put into club football is not questionable. An example is the league sponsorship in Zambia is at $1.5 million (about K1.1 billion) a year and in Zimbabwe is at $1.6 million (about K1.2 billion) a year. We are at K90 million ($110 000).
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) club licensing manager Casper Jangale also felt that the starter pack was not enough.
“I think that [the starter pack] is a short-term solution because it is helping in participation. A long-term solution should look at making the league strong so that it produces champions ready to compete at highest level. If sponsors could pump in more money, we can achieve this.”
Silver Strikers general secretary Thabo Chakaka-Nyirenda said clubs already get peanuts from gate revenue and cutting the share further could only worsen the situation.