KITWE United Football Club patron Christopher Kang’ombe on Thursday donated 36 bags of mealie-meal to players and coaches at the cash-strapped club.
In-fighting in the ruling PF where some named ministers are fighting Kang’ombe for political reasons and have allegedly asked the town clerk to halt funding to the team has led to players and staff not receiving salaries for the past three months, threatening the club’s promotion to the MTN/FAZ Super League.
Town Clerk Seke Mbulo has denied being given such an instruction but has also not explained why the sponsor hasn’t released funding for players’ salaries.
Kang’ombe’s adversaries have reported him to the Anti-Corruption Commission and also written to the local government minister Charles Banda to suspend him, accusing him of being a shareholder in the club which is sponsored by the Kitwe City Council in what appears to be ignorance of the club licensing rules that required a club to be registered as a private limited company, separate from sponsors, to qualify to compete in professional football.
Clubs that don’t meet club licencing guidelines are considered social clubs that can’t play in a professional league and Kitwe United could have lost the right to play in the league in 2018 from division one if Kang’ombe and others didn’t register it as a limited company sponsored by Kitwe City Council.
Kang’ombe, who by virtue of his office is patron of the club, and three other council officials at the time of registration appeared as non-beneficial or ceremonial shareholders for club licensing purposes, shares which have since been surrendered back to the council.
Tired of waiting for their monies, the players last week stormed Kang’ombe’s office demanding to know the way forward and bitterly complained of hunger.
“You came to my office to complain of your suffering and your complaint is genuine. I am sure you know that I love football, me and all other officials like Mr Katebe here, we volunteer to make the club keep going. That’s why as patron I decided from my own effort to buy this mealie-meal at least to try and cushion the impact for a few days as we push for your money,” Kang’ombe said to applauding players.
Kitwe United team manager chipped-in, “This is just from his pocket, from his little resources. Bamisakamana but ebo balecusha pakwafwilishakofye (he cares about you but he is being vilified for helping you).”
“At least nganamukwata akabunga utu tumbi kuti mwafwayafwayako (…if you have a bag of mealie-meal, these other things you can manage to look around as we sort out what is owed to you. We are waiting to hear from the minister but like I promised when you came to my office, something little is being worked on. The team manager will brief you. By tomorrow you should be able to get a little something to sort out some issues as you wait for the bigger monies owed to you, but this is just a little gift from myself as patron,” said Kang’ombe.
Chingalika supporters’ chairman Steven Kamponge thanked Kang’ombe and urged him to soldier on with his help of the team as it was the pride of Buchi township and surrounding communities.