Chimwemwe Manda-Luzendu keen on making ‘Maite’ might again
Mighty Mufulira Wanderers are Zambia’s most successful team having won 50 trophies and have also produced some of the country’s greatest players.
The list of great players who have come from Nshinde Stadium is endless from the likes of the legendary Samuel ‘Zoom’ Ndhlovu, Ashious Melu, Dick Chama, Dickson Makwaza, Harrison ‘Wawa’ Chongo, Bernard ‘Bomber’ Chama, Efford Chabala to Charles ‘Charlie cool’ Musonda and the ‘Great Kalu’ Kalusha Bwalya.
The Copperbelt based outfit continues to make history in one way or another this time around it is by having the only female Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in the league, Chimwemwe Manda-Luzendu.
Chimwemwe who is a football administrator, a wife, and mother of 2 boys holds a BSc in Molecular Biology and Genetics from UNZA.
She is a Christian by religion and is also the 1st born and only daughter in her family.
The ZamFoot Crew caught up with Mrs. Manda-Luzendu to discuss her career in football so far since she first started her journey as an administrator back in 2015.
“I joined football administration through Wanderers in 2015 when I joined as the club administrator. From there in 2017 I also became the Copperbelt regional registrar under FAZ after undergoing training by FIFA instructors. I left Wanderers in 2018 but continued the work with FAZ till 2020. In February 2020 I was appointed MWFC CEO.”
She explained that being a woman some people try to push her around and doubt if she is capable of executing her duties something she quickly dispels and proves the doubters otherwise.
Most of the opposition I faced on gender lines came in my previous roles before the current CEO role. This mainly manifested in not being taken seriously, being sidelined ,and not being allowed to act as I should.
“This time around its more of doubt that is capable to fill the role. And sometimes people do try to see if I can be pushed around or be intimidated because am a woman. However, once they see that is not the case they tend to change from challenging to being respectful,” she added.
Mrs. Manda-Luzendu says she would like to see more professionalism in the administration part of Zambian football.
“There are 2 main things I would love to see. One is to see more professionalism from administrators at all levels. The second one is that I wish we could exploit the full potential of our game as administrators in terms of business and social impact. Socially football is in the margins. We are only in the communities at a very amateur/ entertaining level. Clubs should start engaging communities more. Eg sponsoring school children (who are not their players), adopting clinic wards, appreciating their supporters, etc.”
She has only been CEO for three months but feels the change she has effected has already begun to been seen at Shinde Stadium.
“I have only been in charge for about 3 months and been fighting battles at multiple fronts. If I had to point at achievements they would be:
– On the financial aspect, we have started reducing our debts at a very good rate and simultaneously managed to reduce our expenditure by at least K 80,000/month
– I have started reviving our community relations.
– Newly instituted policies and procedures,” She said.
Wanderers in the recent past have been struggling from winning the league in the 90s to fighting relegation.
Wanderers last won the league in 1996 and last won silverware in 1997 when they won the Charity Shield and the BP Top Eight Cup.
Mrs. Manda-Luzendu, however, has a vision that will see ‘Maite’ become might again.
“My vision is to make Maite mighty again and getting to see us at continental. My plan to achieve this is 4 fold in the following areas: Pitch, Board room, Financial, and Community relations.
– Pitch. We need a well organized and concise team with players who have the talent, the heart to play for Mighty, and have strong emotional intelligence. This is not something that can be achieved in a short while but we will get there. A key component to achieving this is having the right coach for the team. In that department I believe we are set,” she said.
“Board room: A club like ours needs a strong management team that can a)think out of the box
b)has a strong work ethic
c) is honest
d) is dynamic
Some management changes have been instituted in this regard but more changes are needed as I try to find the right recipe.
The other aspect of the board room is the club EXCO. It has to be one that is supportive, honest, and proactive. In that regard, we have been blessed in that the current EXCO fills all those boxes and more. My job is made easier because we work as a team, moving towards the same goal.”
On the aspect of finances, The Wanderers CEO is targeting diversification of income to increase the clubs’ financial pool.
“It’s no secret that funding is the major challenge clubs have in Zambia. We have targeted to diversify our income as much as possible through Green Stripes- A company registered by MWFC and open for business. From hired labor and beyond. We know once well established this step will help secure us financially and remove us from the current hand to mouth situation we are in. Membership: We want to get as many of our supporters as possible to be paid up members. This helps us in that it will increase our income and secure our bottom line as long as everyone does their part. At a certain point before returning to Premier in 2015, this club survived solely via the contributions of the miners. Now, what more could we achieve if all supporters came on board? Every K50 or K100 counts. It counts towards buying and keeping quality players, attracting a good technical bench, sponsors, etc,” she said.
Sponsorship; We need to attract more sponsors and do Debt management: This is a big one. For as long as our money is tied to debts we can’t really grow. Debt if acquired has to be sustainable and only gotten for good cause. As we work towards financial independence it is paramount that this is tackled one way or another.
Chimwemwe is determined to get Wanderers back to where they started from, The Community. She believes Wanderers need the Community and vice versa hence she is keen on that relationship been very smooth moving forward.
“The final one is Community relations. Wanderers always shine when the community is behind it. When we suffer, the community also suffers. We need each other. It is my plan to make sure that those stories and memories we now hear from people who have been Mighty for decades, stories about how Mighty featured in their childhoods or how their parents were faithful, etc should continue with a new generation. Our legacy in Zambian football started with the community and our future also depends on it. In these days of globalization, our community goes beyond Mufulira. As long as you are part of us, you are our community,” she said.
The 9-time Zambia Super League Champions are currently second from bottom with 14 points from 24 games and need to work extra when and if the league resumes as it is on halt due to the Coronavirus epidemic.
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