Be Forward Wanderers have conceded that their fundraising campaign ahead of their Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League participation floped, a development that will affect their plans to play international friendly matches.
The TNM Super League champions launched the CAF Imenyedwe fundraising drive on January 8 this year to raise 60 percent (about K60 million) of their K98 million budget for international friendly matches and their two-legged preliminary round encounters against AS Vita of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) after their sponsors committed 40 percent.
But 22 days after the launch of the drive, Wanderers general secretary (GS) Mike Butao said they have raised less than five percent of their target.
:“What we have raised so far is not even five percent of the target; Actual figures will be released as soon as the amounts become less embarrassing to mention.
“We urge our supporters to come forward for their team and to donate the same little money we pay every weekend at the gates to watch games.
“They should do it through Airtel Money on 0999700070, TNM Mpamba (e-wallet) on 0885986180 and NBS Bank account 18096398,” he said.
According to Butao, the cash is mostly for preparations, especially international friendly matches, and that is where they need the support so as to do well in the continental showpiece.
Wanderers are scheduled to leave this Sunday for Zambia where they are expected to take on Red Arrows in Lusaka next week Thursday before proceeding to the DRC for their CAF first leg tie scheduled for February 11. But Butao admitted the fundraising hitches might prove to be a stumbling block to the international friendly.
“If we cannot raise that money then we will just have to make do with local friendly matches. And that will be sad because most local clubs have not resumed training yet,” he said.
“AS Vita is not a small club. They were CAF finalists in 2014 and we are hearing reports that they are heading to France to prepare for the game. This means they also respect us. But we need to justify that respect by preparing well and beating them in their own backyard. We need everybody’s support.”
Nevertheless, Wanderers main supporters’ committee chairperson James Chiutsankhondo yesterday attributed the fundraising flop to their exclusion from the drive.
“The executive committee did not involve us in this campaign as they only engaged the marketing team which is not well connected with the supporters. I believe things could be better if we were involved because we can connect better with the fans. We could have gone into their respective zones because we know them better,” he said.
Wanderers’ Central Region supporters’ committee chairperson Roderick Chitedze blamed the setback on timing of the campaign, saying: “It is difficult for fans to donate money to the team in this month of January. Things could have been better had we started this campaign before we concluded the TNM Super League because, that time, the morale was high and people had money.”
Soccer analyst George Kaudza Masina concurred with Chitedze that the fundraising idea was brilliant but the timing was wrong.
“Wanderers knew about their participation in CAF a long time ago but they left it until the last minute to begin the fundraising. Knowing our football supporters and considering the month of January, the writing was on the wall that the fundraising would be a flop and, as such, it is not surprising that their efforts seem to falter,” he said.
Kaudza Masina said the fact that AS Vita has been having a number of international friendlies might affect the Nomads psychologically because failing to prepare is preparing to fail.
“But that does not guarantee them [AS Vita] success. Wanderers just need to prepare themselves psychologically, considering that each team will feature 11 players on the field of play. In football anything can happen and Wanderers should just remain positive,” he said.
In a related development, Masters Security FC general secretary Zacharia Nyirenda yesterday said they are financially ready for their away first leg of CAF Confederation Cup against Atletico Petroleos de Luanda of Angola next week as they will leave on February 8.