Keep on aspiring. Say no to violence! That was the key message when TNM reaffirmed its commitment to continue bankrolling the Super League during the official prize presentation ceremony of the 2015 season at Comesa Hall in Blantyre on Thursday.
TNM chief commercial officer, Dan Makata, assured stakeholders, including guest of honour Minister of Sports, Grace Chiumia, that the firm’s partnership with Sulom would take ages to break.
Makata mockingly said “let others keep aspiring for it”.
However, Makata called on stakeholders to ensure that football players benefit from the game.
“This year’s theme was ‘Our Players Our Heroes Our Pride’. The thinking behind this theme was that we should as a country aim to honour and reward our talented players. As sponsors we are not happy hearing that our players are reduced to paupers even as they continue to offer us maximum entertainment.
“I think time has come for players to enjoy their toil. Football is what brings food to their tables and it is uncalled for hearing stories that instead of players benefiting from the game it is actually officials who smile all the way to the bank. As sponsors we will continue to fight for the welfare of players. We will continue until such a time when everyone of us here realizes that it does not hold to rob our players of their earnings, be it from gate-takings or Sapota Mapeto earnings,” he said.
Makata said TNM was disturbed when they learnt that the person (Geoffrey Mwale) who died was not coming from the stadium per say following the violence that marred the game between Red Lions and Wizards (then Surestream).
“He was just a victim of circumstances. Football is supposed to be enjoyed. People should not hesitate to take their families to watch football matches. As we see elsewhere, football is a family entertainment but when we allow violence to rear its ugly head on the game, we spoil the entertainment. As sponsors we say never again should we hear of violence at football matches,” he said.
FAM president Walter Nyamilandu, speaking earlier, reiterate the need to implement club licencing and improve players’ welfare.
“As a former footballer, I know what it takes to play football. It hurts when I see former footballers and active ones begging,” he said.
Sulom president, Innocent Botomani, said it was a terrific season.