It’s rather hard to find the perfect way to aptly describe Walter McMillan Nyamilandu-Manda, the head of Football Association of Malawi (FAM). Some have called him a “smug, self-righteous and egoistic soccer gnome” of all time, yet others have describes him as “the most successful non-homicidal dictator and want-it-all haughty football administrator in the soccer echelons since time immemorial and only second to FIFA beleaguered suspended president Sepp Blutter.
Like Blatter, the former national team lanky full back, Nyamilandu thinks he is the only odd one out who can efficiently and effectively run football affairs and in Malawi, thus he wants to be in power forever but as they say, every dog has its day and it appears after staying in power for 12 years now people are throwing cats amongst the pigeons declaring that ‘enough is enough.
But FAM’s Chief Executive Officer Suzgho Nyirenda, who is supposed to be non-partisan as regards who becomes the country’s soccer governing president, is going beyond expectation and has jumped on Nyamilandu’s bloody campaign trail declaring war against anybody seen to oppose sitting FAM president and is embroiling himself in affiliates vote-buying tittle-tattle.
Nyamilandu is running for his fourth term as FAM president of soccer’s national governing body, more than any other FAM president in history, and the delegates are eager to outdo one another in a competition to shower their chief with glory.
One after another, waving their loyalty flags for their right to declare their chosen candidates but it seems for the Nyamilandu’s camp there is only one way, his way or no way and the FAM’s CEO is taking charge of this dictatorial path.
But it seems the affiliates do not know the intensity and extent of the gross misconduct the blood-spattering race for FAM presidency has. It is very serious and dangerous.
In a typical capitulation under mounting opposition movement by a majority of Malawians against a fourth term for Walter Nyamilandu at FAM, Chief executive Officer (Suzgo) Nyirenda has thrown all caution and discretion to the dogs and openly shown his ravenously staunch support for a Nyamilandu another term
During and after the Big Bullets Versus Civo United match played at Kamuzu Stadium on Thursday afternoon, Nyirenda charged and attacked Chilomoni based Big Bullets’ crazed football fanatic, Dan Kafandiya threatening to eliminate him “kuthana naye” for leading a crusade against the Nyamilandu-Manda fourth term run.
According to eyewitnesses the FAM boss accompanied by thugs attacked Kafandiya outside the stadium just after the match and accused him of campaigning against Nyamilandu and sternly threatening him to stay away from anti-Nyamilandu campaign or face serious consequences.
“It was a nasty scene. I saw Mr. (Sugzo) Nyirenda and some thugs charging towards Kafandiya after the match accusing him of campaigning against Walter Nyamilandu. The gang indicted Kafandiya who was walking towards Shoprite with his friends for his outbursts against Nyamilandu and warned him to stay away or face the consequences,” Yotamu Bangula told Nyasa Times in an interview.
He continued: “But Kafandiya did not retaliate violently as we all know him to be, he calmly challenged Sugzo Nyirenda and his thugs that there is nothing they can do to him and dared them to do what they want, saying that he would not stop campaigning against Nyamilandu because he has the right as a football fan to support anyone or campaign against anyone he feels adding that Nyamilandu’s time to be at the helm of the country’s soccer governing body is finally over.”
In a separate interview Kafandiya confirmed that he was indeed attacked and manhandled at Kamuzu stadium by FAM CEO, Sugzo Nyirenda accompanied by some thugs and that he reported the matter to police.
“It is true I was attacked by the FAM CEO Mr Nyirenda and his thugs at Kamuzu stadium after our (Bullets) game against Civo which we lost. Nyirenda and his hooligans accused me of spearheading a campaign against Nyamilandu and for displaying placards in the stadium declaring that ‘WE DON’T WANT WALTER ANYMORE!’ and the hoodlums wanted to attack me but I told them that I am not scared of them,” said Kafandiya.
Added Kafandiya: “I challenged them to do what they want and also told them point blank that I will not be bullied by anyone to let Nyamilandu run for the fourth time as if he is the only intelligent person in the country. He has been FAM president for more than 10 years but he has nothing to show. I love football, I love my country and I will not allow anyone to advance his or her personal agendas at the expense of the beautiful game. I don’t love football for personal gains rather; I love the sport because it is a beautiful game.”
Kafandiya said he is not campaigning against Nyamilandu because he has a favourite candidate of his own for the FAM presidency but explained that he just want change at FAM.
“For me and many Malawians football is a religion. I will not stand aside and watch someone running football as a personal business. Mr Nyamilandu has done his part and we thank him for dedicated his time for the sport but every good thing comes to an end and its time for others to take over. We need new leadership and new ideas at FAM for things to change. I don’t care who becomes the next president of FAM but as long as it not Walter Nyamilandu, I will be happy. This not personal, its for the love of football,” he clarified.
Kafandiya said that he reported the matter at Southern Region Police headquarters who referred him to Soche Police Sub-Station at Kwacha who have since opened a case file against the FAM CEO Sugzo Nyirenda and that the FAM boss was summoned to Police Friday to explain himself.
Soche Police officials confirmed to Nyasa Times in a telephone interview that they have indeed received a complaint against on assault charges and that Nyirenda has been summoned to the station.
“It is true that we are handling a case against a Mr Sugzo Nyirenda of FAM but I can not divulge more as investigations into the matter is still going on and besides, I am not the spokesperson. For more info please contact the officer in charge (Mike Chona) or the station’s publicist,” said a female officer.
According to a senior FAM official who pleaded for anonymity for fear of reprisals, this callous and obscene behaviour destroys Nyirenda’s standing as the secretary to theDecember 12 electoral body Chaired by esteemed Judge Dingiswayo Madise, saying it seriously calls into question whether as Nyamilandu’s chief campaigner, he (Mr Nyirenda) can be expected to act with the impartiality that his office and position demands
“Of course those in the know, especially the affiliates are not surprised that Suzgo Nyirenda is Nyamilandu’s campaigner in chief. Nyirenda knows that the day Walter leaves FAM, which is coming fast and sooner than expected, Suzgo will go straight to either Chichiri or Zomba maximum security prison because these two men have presided over the worst looting and plundering never seen before in Malawi football to the extent that when and once it all unravels the Capital hill cashgate of 2013 will look like kindergarten stuff,” explained the official.