Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu, who has served as African Anglophone FIFA Council member for two years, faces five other contestants for post in next month’s polls.
They are from Nigeria (Pinnick Amaju); Gambia (Lamin Bajo); Kenya (Nick Mwendwa); Tanzania (Wallace Karia) and from fellow Confederation of African Football (COSAFA) member — Zambian Andrew Kamanga.
Nyamilandu replaced Ghana FA president, Kwesi Nyantakyi, who resigned and in the polls he defeated the most powerful football administrator, South Africa FA president Danny Jordaan and Tanzanian Leodegar Tenga.
Asked in an exclusive interview on COSAFA Show (Podcast) about COSAFA endorsing the Zambian for the same post, Nyamilandu cautioned the regional body to be wary on how they would vote as they might risk losing the seat altogether to the west or east Africans.
He said COSAFA has always been divided in as far as representation in FIFA as well as Confederation of African Football (CAF) is concerned.
Prior to the 2018 polls, influential Jordaan lost out in other three bids for a place at the FIFA Council – which carries with it immense power in the game and what was more bruising to him is losing to little known Nyalimandu in as far as world football is concerned.
The politicking in COSAFA continues with the endorsement of Kamanga and in his response Nyamilandu said the regional body cannot afford to remain divided that can jeopardize chances of retaining the post for the region as a whole.
He took cognizance that a lot of individuals are vying for the post and voting patterns suit regional bodies — the north Africans can favour the west since the east will be for each other.
At the same time, COSAFA has endorsed Patrice Motsepe for the CAF presidency against incumbent Ahmad Ahmad.
Nyamilandu said it had been a humbling and privileged two-year experience in the FIFA Council representing the COSAFA through which he has gained so much is as far as high level decisions for global and African football are concerned.
“I have been able to influence some of FIFA’s high level decisions,” he said. “I’ve been a team player because when you are in there, FIFA expects its visions and objectives to be achieved.
“The FIFA Council needs members who are level headed and sober minded individuals and are expected to assist FIFA not to depart from its course of action.
“It has been an exciting two-year journey and I have a lot more to offer as I have worked in the corporate world with Illovo Sugar for a long time.
“I am fairly young and energetic and I would like to finish up the ideas that were put in the game in the past two years for football to be a viable concern in the foreseeable future.”
He said the world is changing and that COVID-19 — that has caused untold suffering on the world — is contributing to this change and thus will affect sponsorship of the game because of the economic lockdowns.
“Africa has lagged behind in as far as development is concerned and we rely much on assistance from FIFA but we need a paradigm shift that aims at futuristic ideas.
“I want to be part and parcel of that movement that can make football a viable concern.”
When asked his views on players’ welfare as he himself is a former Malawi international, Nyamilandu said in whatever he does as an administrator, the player comes first.
He observed that the game, apart from South Africa, is not rewarding for most southern African countries but it’s time programmes were put in place so that players benefit financially from the game.
“We should have programmes that are very rewarding in such that when the players retire they would have acquired something meaningful.
“We need programmes that when players are identified they should be well developed and nurtured to become excellent players that should make a difference in their contribution to the game.”
He said Africa is lucky that FIFA has in place a youth technical programme, under FIFA Forward, that aims at developing the games from grassroots, which he has been part of for the past two years and going forward he endeavors to continue contributing to its success.
When he was elected in the FIFA Council, the then opposition leader, now President of the Republic — Dr. Lazarus Chakwera congratulated Nyamilandu, saying his Malawi Congress Party (MCP) received the news with “invaluable delight, pride and hope”.
He had said Nyamilandu has passion for football development and his appointment put Malawi as well as the COSAFA on the map within the soccer world.
The MCP had called upon the Government to fully support Nyamilandu and the soccer sector as well as all sporting activities in this country, given that this is one sector that actively engages our youth socially, physically and morally.
The party had vowed that once voted into government, it will do all it can to ensure that all forms of sports are revamped and promoted and that the sector receives due financial attention.
“It is high time the sports sector in this country graduated to professional status and recognition,” the party can be reminded of having said.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :