Kabula United, formerly Escom United, one of the most outstanding teams on the local scene in recent years, is facing extinction.
The club has within a year moved from being Super League material to a second-tier Premier Division side.
Two losses in the first two games of the 2013 Peter Mutharika Southern Region Football League season have forced senior players and assistant coach Kondwani Gawani to question chairperson Fanuel Nkhono’s commitment.
“We just need Mr. Nkhono to come in the open and say he cannot manage. There are a number of people who want to help, but they can’t because of him,” Gawani said on Tuesday through e-mail.
He was responding to a question on whether Kabula were finding it tougher in the Premier Division.
“It is not like it is tough [in the Premier Division], but there is no motivation for the players. There is no transport and no game bonuses. Imagine four months without getting paid. Our landlords are on our necks and we have been disconnected by Escom because of failing to pay [electricity] bills.”
But Nkhono yesterday accused some key players who want to ‘believe’ and earn money like they were still in the Super League. Kabula anchor the Premier Division without a point.
“We have challenges, we owe them but we are trying. We may get rid of some of these players. We try to give them money, but there is a lack of commitment. We have to retain only those willing to play. We want to rebuild and return to the Super League,” Nkhono explained.
Veteran Kabula coach Alex Masanjala, whose hiring late last season could not save the team from relegation, yesterday painted a picture of hope in the midst of the gloom.
“The players have come from different teams; some are good some while others are bad. I am sure we will turn the corner. It is true players are not getting allowances, but we have spoken to management and soon the players will be getting their dues,” Masanjala said yesterday.
Nkhono claimed that they are still owed transfer fees for some of the team’s exports. He said the players need to understand that teams in the Premier Division fight for very little prize money.
Last season, Escom fired coaches Charles Manda, McDonald Mtetemera and Aubrey Nankhuni and sold almost all players.