Nomads lose precious asset

  • Sambani signs three-year contract with Bullets

Caught off-guard. Nyasa Big Bullets yesterday pulled a fast one on their age-old rivals Be Forward Wanderers by signing blossoming defender Precious Sambani on a three-year deal.

Sambani (L) signs the three-year deal

However, the Nomads have vowed to contest the deal, arguing that according to the agreement they had with the player’s parent club Namiwawa Madrid, they were supposed to be offered the first option of signing him permanently.

Sambani’s loan deal, which the Nomads had with Namiwawa, expired last month.

Bullets chief executive officer Fleetwood Haiya yesterday confirmed having completed the paperwork with the player.

“Yes! I can confirm that Precious now belongs to Bullets and has signed a three-year contract following the expiry of his loan deal at Wanderers in December,” he said.

“To us, it is a big signing because we initially wanted to sign him in July, but we had to shelve it following an agreement with Wanderers as we did not want to create unnecessary tension.”

Sambani could not be reached for comment yesterday, but a visibly bewildered Nomads general secretary (GS) Mike Butao confirmed having gotten wind of the development.

Said Butao: “It has come as a big shock because according to the agreement with Namiwawa, we had the first option to buy Sambani and Fransisco Madinga after the expiry of their loan deals.

“Actually the initial agreement with Namiwawa was that we would pay K500 000 for each player per year [for two years] and that during the loan period we would have the first option to buy them.”

The Nomads GS further claimed that during the final year of the loan deals, they were offered Madinga at K2 million and Sambani at K1.5 million.

“But suddenly they [Madrid] started behaving funny after realising that the value of the players had risen. They refused to receive the agreed fees and we had no choice but to take up the matter with FAM [Football Association of Malawi] where we surrendered the agreed transfer fee in full.

“Actually, we had already started contract negotiations with Sambani and he even got part of the agreed signing on fee only to learn today that he has signed for Bullets. So, we are going to contest the matter vehemently because we believe it is illegal and not proper and we already surrendered all the relevant documents to our lawyer David Kanyenda,” he said.

Butao also claimed that Bullets are courting their midfielder Rafique Namwera.

“Just yesterday [Thursday], they [Bullets] approached Namwera and we are not amused by their conduct because we thought we would be working together and not stab each other on the back.”

But Haiya, sounding ice-cool, yesterday said they have signed Sambani using the proper procedures, having approached his parent club following the expiry of his loan deal at the Lali Lubani Road outfit..

Namiwawa director Silas Luwindo also dismissed Wanderers’ claims, saying the player has been sold to Bullets because the Nomads failed to pay the transfer fees during the agreed period.

“It’s a straightforward issue. Wanderers indeed had the first option to buy the players during the period that they were loaned to them, but when they failed to do so, we had no choice but to offer them to teams that were serious and apparently Bullets were keen to sign Sambani and we have finalised everything.

“Sambani really wanted to play for Wanderers, but because of some officials that were dilly-dallying, he thought it wise to move on. So, in as far as we are concerned, it is a closed chapter,” he said.

However, Luwindo could not be drawn to disclose how much Bullets have paid for Sambani.

The Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) has swiftly moved to probe the matter about the voter registration certificates that were dumped in Mangochi. It has dispatched a team to investigate the issue.

MHRC executive secretary David Nungu confirmed yesterday, saying the commission wants to have an independent investigation to establish what exactly happened for the certificates which were issued in Lilongwe to be abandoned in Mangochi.

“We take notice that elections are sensitive and this incident can affect stakeholders’ confidence. So we thought if we had two parallel investigations by independent bodies the results could help to instill confidence and manage matters of freeness, fairness and peace of the electoral process,” explained Nungu.

He said the commission had taken the incident “as a very speedy response” and the team which is by led by MHRC director of civil and political rights Peter Chisi, projects to come up with the findings on what happened within three days.

The 751 voter certificates are for people of Lilongwe Msinja North Constituency and were issued at Mlare registration centre in Bunda Ward but were dumped at Thema 1 Primary School in Mangochi.

Yesterday, Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) issued a statement, after pictures of the certificates started circulating on social media, saying it will investigate how they found their way to Mangochi.

The electoral scandal comes at a time there is already another unresolved issue concerning theft in September 2018 of one of MEC’s biometric voter registration kits which was found on a coal train in Mozambique.

Meanwhile, Malawi Electoral Support Network (Mesn) has urged MEC to tread carefully in handling the emerging issues as the development has the potential to raise questions over MEC’s credibility to deliver free, fair and credible elections in May this year.

Some of the country’s major political parties–Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and UTM—have all expressed concern over the development describing it as “scary and unfortunate.”

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