Football Association of Malawi during its executive committee held in Lilongwe on Saturday resolved to withdraw the senior national team from participating in Africa Cup of Nations and Africa Championship Cup due to financial problems.
“Having considered all the available options, and in accordance with required notices for withdrawal, it was further resolved that the Malawi National Senior Football team be withdrawn from CHAN Competition by 31st March, and from AFCON by 30th April 2017, due to lack of funding,” reads a statement posted on its website, signed by Chief Executive Officer Alfred Gunda.
FAM made the resolution following a shocking announcement by the government through the Minister of Youth, Sports and Manpower Development Henry Mussa that it would not be able to provide funding to employ the national team expatriate coach.
“FAM would like to advise the general public and all its stakeholders that, after comprehensive discussions during the meeting, it was resolved as follows: The immediate recruitment of the Malawi National Senior Football team coach be suspended until such a time that Government has adequate resources to fund such recruitment and also for the reasons that the current huge gaps and shortfalls of our Senior National Football team can only be addressed through recruitment of a well-trained and highly experienced expatriate coach,” reads the statement.
FAM said it would instead with funding from FIFA and CAF would intensify and dedicate all its efforts and resources towards football development programs with emphasis on coaching, grassroots and youth football.
“FAM will recruit a highly qualified and experienced Director of Football to lead these development programs. It is expected that the Director of Football is going to fully develop the game at the grassroots and youth level so that a strong Under 15, Under 17 and Under 20 National Football Team can be developed.
“These are expected to feed in the Senior National Football team as and when funding becomes available. It is further expected that the Director of Football is going to train and capacitate our local coaches for them to take over able responsibility for the Senior National Football team as and when it becomes active,” it reads in part.
The association said was fully aware of the negative implications including fines and suspension such withdrawal may attract.
“However, in its consideration, such withdrawal and its negative implications cannot be avoided looking at the current level of desperation that the Senior National Football team is in terms of funding and overall support.”
The development comes after the midterm budget review slashed the initial K2 billion budget allocated to Ministry of Youth, Sports and Manpower Development to a meagre K800 million which a hot debate in Parliament.