TNM Super League newcomers have affirmed their preparedness to stand competition and financial demands that come with playing in the top-flight league.
Kasungu-based TN Stars completed the newly-promoted teams’ list after beating Support Battalion 1-0 on Sunday to win the Chipiku Central Region Football Association League (CRFA). Karonga United and Nchalo United did it in the North’s Simama Premier League and South’s Masters Security Premier League, respectively.
TN Stars owner Thomas Nyirenda said: “We are financially sound although we will need more support from the Kasungu community and business partners in some areas considering that the top-flight league demands a lot of resources.
“We managed to spend at least K14 million in the second-tier league and, according to our research, we will require a minimum of between K20 million and K30 million to complete our Super League fixtures. We have that budget and other issues such as game bonuses will come later.”
In terms of players’ welfare, Nyirenda said everything is in place as they live in houses rented by the outfit and receive free medication. He added that each of their 33 players received K5 000 game bonus for a win and they plan to up the stakes in the elite league.
The TN Stars owner further said the club’s executive will meet this Friday to discuss the possibility of beefing up their squad. However, he said they still have trust in the majority of their current players.
“Our team is centred on three different approaches; scientific, networking and good management. We also have partners in South Africa and Ghana, who are willing to help us,” he said.
On his part, Nchalo United chairperson Peter Chiipanthenga said they are assured of continued support from Illovo Sugar (Malawi) Limited and they have also intensified their fundraising drive.
“We remain optimistic that Illovo will come up with a bigger package for us to fulfil our assignments in the Super League. We also know that the community will not let us down as we return to the elite league after almost a decade,” he said.
Karonga United chairperson Alufeyo Chipanga Banda said they learnt lessons from their previous stint in the top-flight league two seasons ago.
“Now we know what it takes to survive in the Super League. We have a K5 million starterpack which we raised among the team’s directors. Besides that, the Karonga community has pledged to support their team.
“We have also lined-up a number of fundraising activities such as dinner and dance, friendly matches against the big three—Nyasa Big Bullets, Be Forward Wanderers and Silver Strikers,” he said.
Chipanga-Banda also said they will beef-up the team with eight players from Super League teams who will be joining them on loan and as free agents.
“And we feel playing at our own backyard—Karonga Stadium—will provide us a home ground advantage unlike previously when we played our home games in Mzuzu. So, things look promising,” he said.
But soccer analyst Charles Nyirenda has advised the rookies to leave no stone unturned on their preparedness for Super League battle.
“Survival will be based on thorough preparations, including buying experienced players, motivating the players and having a bench that knows what it is doing. Masters Security FC and Dwangwa United came prepared and they both survived,” he said.
“Super League matches are tough for a team from the lower leagues in psychological, technical and tactical sense. Getting the right balance in these terms is not easy at all.”n