Game ON! with BENEDICT TEMBO
AS FAR as the Chilenje community is concerned, City of Lusaka Football Club players are among the highest paid players in the country.
Cityâ€™s good showing in which they have been table toppers of Division One Zone One most times this season seems to tie in very well with their supportersâ€™ perception.
Little wonder when the Woodlands Stadium falters, the City supporters drawn mostly from the Chilenje neighbourhood yell violently at the players and coaches.
They feel that the players are not paying back in kind the generosity from the sponsors, Forli Limited, who recently signed a three-year sponsorship deal.
In June this year, City signed a three-year sponsorship deal worth K3.2 million with Forli Limited.
During the signing ceremony on June 24 this year, Forli is said to have also donated assorted sports kit that included balls, jerseys and boots worth K350,000.
Forli director Diego Casilli said the company is happy to be associated with the glamorous side.
With the deal having been widely publicised, the expectations of City soccer fans are not misplaced because they hold Forli and Casilli in high esteem.
What the supporters do not know, however, is that Forli does not exist in the vocabulary of the players, neither does it show in their pockets.
How can it exist when sometimes transport money is not paid, forcing players who live as far as Chilanga to strap to their homes?
Or when transport money is brought most times around 19:00 hours – two hours after training has ended?
This is probably a white elephant deal, which only the City executive committee and maybe, the trustees know about because nothing has changed in terms of the players and coachesâ€™ welfare.
None of the City players has signed a contract since the club inked the deal with Forli while the two coaches Davey Musole and Lameck Nyangu are still holding on to the contracts they signed with the previous executive.
My investigation last week revealed that while the Mich Makukula-led executive meant well by bringing Forli on board, maybe something seems not to be working out.
As a result, the executive looks like they have not done anything at City.
When the team did not have a sponsor, the former executive fulfilled their obligation on time.
Transport money was paid upfront.
With a sponsor, things have seemingly collapsed as most executive members do not even attend training.
Players claim they have never even been introduced to the sponsor, neither is there dialogue between the team and the executive.
With winning bonuses delayed and transport money being erratic, things are not alright at City.
Surprisingly, despite lack of motivation such as players and members of the technical bench not being paid allowances, including transport money, City players are able to deliver the results because of the discipline and good relationship with the coaches.
Perhaps, what is lacking is disclosure by the executive to tell the players and supporters whether the Forli deal is on track or not.
If indeed the deal is on track, why are players not on contracts, why were the coaches not given new contracts outlining the Forli conditions of service, including gratuity?
What does the Forli sponsorship really cater for?
City are on course for promotion to the Super Division and unless the executive and trustees tackle the teething problems, returning to soccerâ€™s promised land maybe a pipedream.
Well done Nsama Mataka, Raj Sharma, Guy Phiri
Meanwhile, let me take this opportunity to commend Nsama Mataka, Raj Sharma and Guy Phiri for their selfless service at Lusaka Golf Club and paving way for fresh blood.
When Mataka took over as captain of the Lusaka Golf Club, he did so out of his desire to serve.
Going by the success of the executive, which has done so much in two years, Mataka was expected to run again for the lofty office at the countryâ€™s premier golf club, so was business executive Guy Phiri.
However, Mataka, just like Phiri appreciate that those positions are not personal to holder, irrespective of the glory and allure attached to them.
The duo, including Sharma, have stepped down to pave way for fresh blood. By doing so, Mataka, Phiri and Sharma have demonstrated that the club is bigger than they are, just as the club is not short of leadership.
This spirit of service is what is lacking in most sports associations where some office bearers are almost being life presidents.
Overstaying in office, despite being elective, is greedy at its worst because Zambia is not short of leaders.
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Game ON! with BENEDICT TEMBO