Financial woes have reached a boiling point in some TNM Super League teams with Kasungu-based TN Stars expelling at least 14 registered players for boycotting training and matches over unpaid salaries and game bonuses.
The development comes a few days after Silver Strikers players refused to train over outstanding salaries for August and bonuses for three games.
It also follows continued struggles of Masters Security FC players to get their dues for over three months while Mzuni FC are in dire need after losing their sponsorship from Mzuni University.
But unlike situations at Silver and Masters, TN Stars players took their demand for last month’s salaries and game bonuses for eight games to a higher level last week when they boycotted two league fixtures, leading to forfeiture of six points and risking a fine by Super League of Malawi (Sulom).
TN Stars director of communications and operations Wisdom Chimgwede yesterday said they have decided to part ways with the bulk of their players, including captain Blessings Phiri and his deputy Stain Dave for ignoring an order to turn up at their base by close of business on Wednesday.
“Only nine players turned up and this means we have closed the door for the rest,” he said.
Chimgwede said they will work with the remaining ‘loyal’ players and they will beef up the squad with players from the reserve side.
“Our focus is on moving forward. The players will be paid as and when we are ready,” he said.
Chimgwede could not name the expelled players, but The Nation investigation shows that Phiri and Davie have been pushed out alongside Fila Jumo, Rocket Dinga, Clifford Jakab, Blessings Joseph, Dave Pashan, Dave Nthini, Mabvuto Chipolopolo, Tonic Viyuyi, Trouble Banda, Laurent Banda, Hope Silu and Patrick Njolomole.
Davie yesterday said they will accept any punishment from the team, but they could not continue training without getting their pay first.
“They expected us to attend training where can we get money for transport? Some of us have families, how will we make ends meet while playing for the team?” he wondered.
Davie added the players will not struggle to find new teams since most of them do not have contracts with the club.
Football analyst George Kaudza Masina yesterday said the financial problems some teams are facing can easily be avoided if Sulom and Football Association of Malawi (FAM) had been serious on club licensing.
“This shows that most of our Super League teams do not deserve to be in the elite league. Most teams do not have the financial muscle to compete in this elite league,” he said.
Sulom general secretary Williams Banda said they could not comment until they get official complaints from the teams and the players.
FAM licensing and compliance manager Casper Jangale yesterday said they are monitoring the situation and they will soon call the teams and the players for a stakeholders’ meeting to map the way forward.
However, he admitted it is difficult to know the clubs’ financial stability before the start of the season even with the club licensing requirements in place and it is for this reason that they plan to raise the money that teams pay as surety to FAM. “We have noted that it is difficult to gauge the clubs’ financial prowess as some just borrow money from friends and keep it in their bank accounts,” said Jangale.