By Bernard Mhone:
Main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has pledged financial assistance to TNM Super League side Mzuni after Mzuzu University management withdrew sponsorship for non-student players.
The pledge was made on Saturday during a meeting organised by Mzuni MCP Youth Wing after its chairperson, Hassan Omar, pleaded with the country’s oldest political party to help the club.
MCP publicity secretary, Maurice Munthali, responded immediately, assuring the youth that the party would not allow Mzuni’s performance in the new season to be compromised by the unavailability of non-student players who form about 70 percent of the team.
Munthali said helping Mzuni would be part of MCP’s responsibility as one of the biggest political organisations in the country.
“We have officially been informed lately that the government has pulled out sponsorship for non-student players. I would like to put it on record, on behalf of MCP, that we are going to help Mzuni. I understand the team used about K32 million in the 2018 season.
“We are just wondering why the government has dumped its own team and promised to build stadiums for private clubs Nyasa Big Bullets and Be Forward Wanderers [referring to President Peter Mutharika’s promise that he would build stadiums for Bullets and Wanderers] while its own team is struggling. The team provides entertainment to Mzuzu University students and also helps them to develop their football talent. So, if the government does not reverse its decision, we are completely taking over the team in March,” Munthali said.
The Daily Times has established that the Green Intellectuals budgeted K140 million for the 2018 season but ended up using around K32 million as they were booted out of cup competitions in early stages.
Omar commended MCP for the gesture and expressed optimism that the pledge would be fulfilled as the party has helped the students on several occasions.
“Mzuni is our team and we are happy that it finished the 2018 season on an impressive note. The players fought hard and qualified for the Airtel Top 8 but it seems management is not committed to supporting it. The MCP pledge has given us hope for the future.
“We initially had no hope and were planning to stage demonstrations because we want the Green Intellectuals to be forever. Last time MCP promised to buy us plasma screens and they did so within a week. We are hopeful that the party will help our team to continue playing in the Super League,” Omar said.
In a separate interview, Mzuni Registrar James Kwilimbe said the decision to withdraw support for non-student players still stands as it was a directive from the University Council.
“We are passing through financial difficulties and that decision remains unchanged,” Kwilimbe said.
Mzuni was promoted to the Super League in 2015 from the Northern Region Football Association League Simama and Sons Premier Division.