Wanderers FC’s in-fighting continues; players demand immediate resignation of 5 board members

Three of the targeted, (L-R) Mervin Nkunika, Limbani Magomero and Chauncy Gondwe

* As directors, you have other means of income thereby able to survive without depending on Wanderers

* On the contrary, as players, our survival is football and our team is Wanderers

* Which means that your behavior affects us as players and our families economically, socially and morally

By Duncan Mlanjira

Following their accusations that the root cause of the divisions in Mighty Wanderers Football Club 2021 Limited is Board secretary Humphrey Mvula, the accusers Chauncy Gondwe; Ernest Maganga; Adela Migogo; Limbani Magomero and Sam Mponda have attracted the wrath of team players, who have demanded their immediate resignation.

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In a statement issued on Tuesday, March 2 — signed by the players — says they are concerned of the way the five board members have been handling the affairs of the club which in turn affect them as “a team of players who form the core fabric of the institution”.

The players also accuse the five of being at the forefront of attracting negative publicity on Wanderers for the past six months, saying “time and again, Board members have been imposing themselves in activities and assertions which are more on destroying Wanderers”.

“According to our findings, we have noted with regret that out of the 24 board members of Wanderers, the five have been in the forefront instilling negative publicity through the official and social media.

“This has resulted in the team not having a good name that would attract sponsors to come and invest in Wanderers FC.

The players

“It must be appreciated that as directors, you have other means of income thereby able to survive without depending on Wanderers. On the contrary, as players, our survival is football and our team is Wanderers — which means that your behavior affects us as players and our families economically, socially and morally.”

Thus the players contend that the five “step down forthwith” as it is their belief that if they “will step aside the situation at Wanderers will improve and raise the required morale within the team”.

On Monday, March 1, eight of the board members, that included the five and Gift Mkandawire;  Member of Parliament Ulemu Chilapondwa and and Mervin Nkunika — issued a statement singling out Humphrey Mvula as the root cause of the divisions in the team, saying he seeks sympathy from supporters by claiming that the Mighty Wanderers Football Club 2021 Limited Board does not want to work with Thom Mpinganjira.

The statement said the general misunderstanding of some supporters, media houses, board members and the nation at large portrays as if they are against Mpinganjira — who was unveiled as president of the limited company last year.

When Mpinganjira was being unveiled last year

They contended that this was not true as they love Mpinganjira and believe “he is the best thing that has happened to the company at the moment”.

“He is a good and generous person. His love for the team is unquestionable. It is our prayer that he rescinds his decision to resign from his position.”

Thus they they accuse Mvula as being “the cancer that is killing the team as he has been misinforming people, mainly supporters that some members of the Board do not want Mpinganjira, “yet he knows very well that we all love Dr. Mpinganjira.

“… It is him (Mvula) we don’t want on the following grounds:

* He has been making unilateral decisions committing the company to potential sponsors without being sanctioned from the specific committees of the board;

* He has been managing the team without the blessings of the football development and management committee;

* He has been committing the company to business people without the knowledge/blessings of the business development committee;

* Hiring and firing of technical staff and management of finances of the team single-handedly.

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“In short he is the company himself. He does all this, for his personal glory. He has turned the company into his personal farm.

“In line with our prayer all along, we have noted that the general consensus amongst supporters is that Dr. Thom Mpinganjira should take over the team. We believe Dr. Mpinganjira is ready to take over as per the request from the Supporters.

“We as board members have no objection because we only want what’s best for the club. In fact, the Board would be very grateful to get someone fully responsible and that has been our goal.

“The Board reminds the supporters that it is only the board that is legally mandated to make such a transaction.”

Thus the Board asks Mvula to urgently convene a meeting as board secretary, “whose sole agenda will be the process of handing the team over to Dr. Mpinganjira”.

“After that we will also resign to pave way for a new Board of Directors to be constituted by the said Dr. Mpinganjira.”

A day before the team’s supporters asked for the resignation of team management members, whose tenure of office is reported to have expired last season.

Wanderers FC, which was registered as a Limited company mid-last year, appointed the team’s former chairperson, Chancy Gondwe to lead a caretaker management team to run its day to day football affairs — together with former team manager, Magomero as administration manager; Dokani Ngwira as commercial manager; Adelaide Migogo (finance manager) and Ernest Maganga (public affairs manager).

This was agreed during the limited company’s first Board of Directors meeting where business mogul, Thomas Mpinganjira was endorsed as its president and Humphrey Mvula appointed to act as secretary to the Board.

However, the supporters committee — which the Board tasked it to mobilize 5 million fans nationwide into being registered members through payment of a yearly agreed subscription fee to Wanderers Football Club 2021 Limited to demonstrate their ownership — were ambiguous in the statement issued on Saturday.

They said they had noted “unnecessary noise and misunderstanding, especially among Board members and some supporters” adding that

“those not happy to serve Wanderers in whatever capacity to exercise his/her right to resign from the Club” or the supporters themselves might “decide to dismiss them as members”.

While indicating that the Board has leadership that must be respected to provide direction, the supporters indicated that they are aware the tenure of office for those that were elected in the management expired last season — without giving specific individuals targeted for.

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“We are surprised to hear and learn that some members are calling themselves as position holders of that defunct management team,” said the statement, while advising such individuals to stop speaking to the media as holding their positions whose tenure expired.

The statement also said there are some members of the Board who are holding shares on their behalf, saying none in the Board bought any shares just to be considered for a post.

Recently, the supporters had called on Thom Mpinganjira to take over ownership of Wanderers Limited Company, which would give him powers select those who could work with him.

Thus they repeated this call, hinting that doing so would bring “sanity in the team’s leadership”.

Further they are asking all those that are in the Board that resigned last season — quoting a letter by the team’s CEO dated October 2, 2021 — to do so “to pave way now for the re-constitution of a new Board of Directors”.

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The supporters also warn that “those that would like to cause problems by telling any sponsor to stop releasing sponsorship money meant for players, to stop playing cheap politics with the warfare of players”.

“We know you and next time we will name and shame you,” they said through their general secretary Peter Mvalo.

“For the sake of good order and love of the team, we appeal to the media to stop quoting individuals that have no authority to speak on behalf of the club and the team apart from chairmen of the board.”

In their statement in January, the supporters said following poor performance of Mighty Wanderers FC in the last 2-3 seasons, they discussed in in-depth assessment as regards to the causative factors of the poor run of results and offered recommendations — which included asking Mpinganjira to take over ownership of the team.

The concerned supporters said they established that their technical panel had “exhibited gross levels of incompetence as evidenced by the team’s poor results including two trophyless seasons as a key indicator”.

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They also maintained that there was “lack of seriousness and commitment on the part of some players” and that the limited company’s Board “is bloated which at times might be fueling in-fighting within”.

They also alleged that there was “abuse of gate collections for the benefit of few individuals” — thus recommending they make Mpinganjira “the sole owner of Mighty Wanderers 2021 Limited” by giving him “majority shares of the Company”.

“We propose that one way of making you majority shareholder would be to have you, your son or your trust buy the shares,” the January statement had said.

“We hope this decision will help curb the alleged bickering within the Board and will empower you to appoint your team that you believe will work in your best interest and in the interest of the Company.

“We have hope that you can steer the Wanderers ship to the desired ends as already evidenced by the unwavering financial and leadership support you have provided this far.”

Mpinganjira

The concerned supporters suggested that if Mpinganjira accepted to take complete ownership then he should “fire the entire technical panel and replace it with a competent one with an experienced, disciplined and older coach who can be respected by all the players”.

He was also asked to review the team’s “administrative office to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of its functions for the betterment of the club” and “to expedite recruitment process of players through conducting trials for both old and new players”.

The supporters proposed for the reduction in the number of directors from 24 to 10 and to outsource management of gate collections.

In return, the supporters pledged to play the role of lobbying with other directors within the board to pass a resolution that will make Mpinganira the majority shareholder of the Company’s shares.

When he was officially unveiled as president, Mpinganjira announced that the football team would be a subsidiary of other money-making business ventures the company is eyeing to pursue.

He had said the company is set to rope in multiple sponsors and not just be branded by a particular corporate sponsor as was the case in the past when the team trended as Yamaha Wanderers to MTL to Be Forward.

Before his appointment, Mpinganjira financially bailed out the team by paying the players’ salary arrears from his personal pocket and though he is incarcerated, he still is financially supporting the team.

Wanderers had been struggling financially after the withdrawal of sponsorship from Japanese second car dealers, Be Forward which made Mpinganjira to come forward and assist paying for the players’ salaries.

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