Big Bullets FC and Azam Tigers are involved in a tug-of-war over one of the most promising players in Malawi, Under-20 international and Blantyre United winger Dalitso Sailesi.
The player is reportedly indecisive on which of the two clubs to join. He could, however, not be traced for comment on Wednesday.
Bullets and Tigers have accused each other of playing hide-and-seek in their quest to get Sailesi on board.
However, Super League of Malawi (Sulom) and United on Wednesday said the player was cleared to join Bullets on loan.
United technical director Lawson Nakoma said they loaned Sailesi for K750 000 (about $2 500) to Bullets last week after failing to reach a common ground on a K4 million (about $13 333) price tag.
â€œWe are actually surprised that the player cannot be traced but what we know is that we loaned him to Bullets.
â€œInitially, he went to train with Tigers and when I approached their general secretary [Geoff Kachale], they expressed interest to sign him but they changed their tune, saying they could not afford to pay K4 million for him.
â€œIt was after that, that the player started training with Bullets and their GS [Higger Mkandawire] phoned me expressing interest to sign him. Then we agreed on a loan deal and he was cleared by Sulom,â€ said Nakoma.
But Mkandawire said since the deal was completed, Sailesi has not reported for training at Bullets.
â€œThe information we have is that Mpulula is using his influence, having coached the player at Blantyre United and they are keeping him somewhere, but whatever they [Tigers] do will not work because the player is registered with us and no matter how long it takes, he will play for us,â€ said Mkandawire.
Kachale could not be reached for comment but their coach Leo Mpulula claimed that Sailesiâ€™s heart is at Tigers.
â€œThe player approached me and told me that Nakoma had forced him to join Bullets against his wishes and we were not amused because he [Nakoma] is a Bullets sympathiser. I know that since I was with United,â€ said Mpulula.
He also dismissed Bulletsâ€™ claims that Tigers are keeping the player in hiding.
But Nakoma denied being a Bullets sympathiser nor forcing Sailesi to join Bullets.
â€œThis was supposed to be a straightforward issue. Anyway, we will follow up the matter with Bullets, to whom we loaned the player,â€ said Nakoma.
Sulom general secretary Williams Banda confirmed that their records show that Sailesi belongs to Bullets. He warned that the player risks a ban should it be established that he is playing hide-and-seek with the two teams.