When Football Association of Malawi (Fam) announced its intention to withdraw the Flames from participating in the Africa Cup of Nations as well as the African Nations Championship (CHAN) due to lack of funds, there was public outcry.
Though there was some support for Fam to pull out, saying the Flames don’t perform well in these tournaments anyway. The government intimated that Fam made a hasty decision in announcing the withdraw that was picked up by the international media including the BBC.
As the debate raged on, South Africa based Prophet Shepherd Bushiri came in the open and asked Fam to submit a budget for the two tournaments with the possibility of him funding the Flames engagements. That seemed to have ruffled many feathers because a day or two later after offering the pledge, Bushiri withdrew it, saying his gesture was politicised.
This is not the first time that Bushiri has unnerved some quarters because of seemingly unending benevolent activities throughout the country. He has also funded the Flames to fulfil its engagements and that too was met with so much criticism as if the man of God has committed a crime.
Bushiri has helped many families by donating maize flour and sometime cash handouts but it seems some quarters take exception of this philanthropic gesture.
Somewhere, somehow those people in the know as to why some people take exceptions of Bushiri’s benevolence owe us an explanation as to why we should join them. Why shouldn’t Bushiri donate towards the Flames when others also assist the government in propping up our beloved team?
Is the corporate world the only sector allowed to support the Flames? Isn’t it Bushiri offering his help through his business investments? Why should it be so controversial for this man when he offers his help?
We are owed an explanation as to why we should not accept Bushiri’s offer for help. If the government was still going to out of its way and prop up the Flames, why also not allow Bushiri with open arms to also pump in something more?
Like I said before, the responsibility of funding the Flames’ international engagements lies with the government. Other stakeholders like the corporate world come in to be associated with the glamour that the team can create — using it to market their products and services.
We don’t know for sure what Bushiri is trying to market and we shouldn’t care unless it is something illegal. He has fed thousands of families over the past three years and he has never asked anything in return — unless someone tells me otherwise and with evidence.
We have heard how people plundered government coffers without batting an eyelid which we can be made to understand — and wrongly — that there is too much money lying idle in government that other people just decide to steal it.
Maybe if the Flames were given enough money there wouldn’t be so much surplus that people can be animated to steal it willy nilly. We see abuse of resources when parastatal companies’ lorries are used to ferry party zealots to political rallies or just to see off the State President when he flies outside the country or to welcome him on his return. Why not channel such financial resources to proper use.
Otherwise, the Flames need to be fully supported. Football is an expensive business and you do not give peanuts towards its cause. Once the national team shall start to perform well, its glamour shall attract other stakeholders, such as Prophet Bushiri’s business investment and other companies to support it.
Let’s give each other room to serve this country well. Leave other political innuendos surrounding the man of God away from innocent beneficiaries of his philanthropic heart and if we need to know why he should be involved with our football, step up and explain to us.
When Fam announced its decision to withdraw the Flames from the Nations Cup and the CHAN, some people knew that the football governing body was just trying to put pressure on the government to consider increasing its funding. And it worked the moment Bushiri came into the scene.
I also put the blame on the Members of Parliament that they did not see anything amiss with the funding of the national team. Are we being told that nobody in the august House did not notice that the allocation to football was peanuts and needed to be revised upwards? How could they pass such a low budget and expect the Flames to fuilfil their engagements successfully?
It’s time out lawmakers started following up properly some of the activities of football and other sports disciplines that need government support. There are many families that have financially supported their children from their own pockets to represent the country on international sports events when it was the duty of the government to do.
They did it for the good of their kids but at the end of the day, these kids ended raising the Malawi flag high. It’s the same with what Prophet Bushiri is trying to do.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :