- To accommodate Al Hilal at Ryalls
- But coffers dry, budget estimated at K20m
Overturning the 4-0 humiliation they suffered in Khartoum, Sudan is not the only obstacle Big Bullets face ahead of their CAF Champions League first round, second leg tie. They also have to raise K20 million to host the match scheduled for April 4, including accommodating Al Hilal at four-star Protea Hotel Ryalls.
It has emerged that Bullets struck a deal with the Sudanese side to foot each other’s bills for home matches as it was with Fomboni Club De Moheil of the Comoros.
However, while the deal with Fomboni was verbal and open, the one with Al Hilal is a different arrangement as Bullets were made to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in Khartoum as a commitment to reciprocate the hospitality of being accommodated at five-star Corinthians Hotel, Blue Nile as well as hiring a luxury coach.
Bullets general secretary Harold Fote confirmed that Al Hilal accepted to host them in Khartoum on condition that Bullets reciprocate on the return leg.
“We suggested to our counterparts to consider accommodating us in a standard hotel on the understanding that we would do the same here.
“But we learnt that they had booked us at a five-star hotel as per CAF requirement and we were made to sign an MoU in the presence of the match commissioner. We had no choice but to accept. After making their own research, they put a condition that they be accommodated at Ryalls,” said Fote.
He said as of yesterday morning, they were yet to come up with a budget for the return leg, but they are estimating it in the excess of K20 million.
According to Hotels.com, a room at Protea Ryalls costs $153 (about K68 850)], translating to about K1.37 million per day for a squad of 30 (10 double rooms for players and another 10 single room for officials), excluding meals.
For a period of five days it would translate to about K6.9 million.
“It means we will have to book at least 20 rooms at Ryalls, hire a luxury coach for them and also book five rooms at Sunbird Mount Soche for the match officials.
“We will also need to raise allowances and pay for their air travel for the match commissioner from Zambia and four referees from South Africa. Then, we have to hire vehicles for the match commissioner, Al Hilal officials and the referees as well as training venue for the visiting team, among other logistics. So, it should be quite substantial,” he said.
He said besides the estimated K20 million budget for Al Hilal, Bullets also have to repay the K13 million debt they got for the return air tickets to Sudan.
They also have an outstanding accumulative debt in excess of K10 million to other service providers for the Fomboni match such as Dorvic Hotel, Gold Card Executive Lodge and players’ dues.
Asked how much they have in their coffers, Fote said: “We have absolutely nothing in our account. We had hoped that our colleagues would collect some payments for the billboard advertising and broadcasting rights, but there is nothing.”
On whether they will raise the money, considering that first-class hotels and travel agents demand upfront payment, Fote took a long breath and said: “Realistically no, but then we have an obligation. But we will have to find a way. It will be a matter of squeezing blood from a bone.
“But, at least, we are counting on the proceeds from the return leg tie. If we will be a bit more organised than we were for the Fomboni game, we should raise some money from the match although, not enough to meet all the costs. n