The Mzuzu University (Mzuni) Council has ordered their former football team, Mzuni Football Club, to stop using the institution’s name following withdrawal of sponsorship.
The team’s executive committee has since been asked to effect change of the name before the end of this week.
Mzuni registrar James Kwilimbe said in an interview yesterday that continued usage of the name by the club can have implications on the university’s brand.
“The university is no longer funding the team, so why continue using the name Mzuni? This is unacceptable because we are aware that it can have implications later and spoil the university’s brand.
“In addition, the public can have the perception that we are still sponsoring the team. We have, therefore, instructed the team’s leadership to effect the change before the end of this week,” he said.
Reacting on the issue, the team’s chairperson Albert Mtungambera Harawa said they are aware of the need to change the name following Mzuni’s decision to stop funding the team.
However, he said the change cannot be effected overnight as it will require some documentation.
“We are not clinging to the name, but we need time to formalise the process because at the time they were communicating about the withdrawal of funding to the team, we already had documentation bearing the university name handed to relevant stakeholders,” he said.
When contacted to comment on the matter, Super League of Malawi (Sulom) general secretary Williams Banda said they are yet to get official communication from Mzuni that it has stopped funding the team.
“The documents we have for the team [still] show that the university is the guarantor. Mind you, we have already printed uniforms for the team bearing the name Mzuni FC,” he said.
But Kwilimbe said Mzuni made such communication available to Sulom through the team’s executive.
Football analyst Peterkins Kayira has said it is not new for a team to change names.
“That is not strange, it is normal for them to change the name because the university is no longer associated with the team. It is clear that the change will not affect the team’s performance. I am sure the university will shoulder the cost that will be incurred on the change,” he said.