Malawi government has expressed displeasure that Football Association of Malawi (FAM) appealed for financial support from leader and founder of Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) Church, Prophet Sheperd Bushiri who gave out K44 million on Friday.
Minister of sports Grace Chiumia told a local radio that Bushiri should have directed his money directly to government through the Ministry of Finance and not directly to Football Association of Malawi (FAM).
Bushiri arguably richest person in Malawi made the donation in response to FAM appeal as the Flames were at risk of failing to play their friendly with Sierra Leone en route to Guinea for Africa Cup of Nations ties.
FAM is struggling with resources to bankroll the national football team with budget cuts from cash-strapped government.
Government, through the Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) ordered FAM not to accept a K44 million donation from Bushiri, saying the Major 1 should have given the cash to government.
However, FAM defied the order and accepted the donation at Mpira Village to help meet the K45 million budget shortfall for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations’ qualifiers against Guinea.
FAM general secretary Suzgo Nyirenda confirmed to have received the order from Sports Council on the issue when speaking to Nyasa Times.
“Indeed it’s true they wrote us that we need to seek approval from government first before we get the donation saying both FAM and the national team are public entities. But looking at the timing and how desperate we were for the money, we could not turn down such huge donation because we were stranded and government made it clear that there was no money to give to the team,” said Nyirenda.
Nyirenda said this was the first time for government to tell them not to receive the donation from any well wisher as they have been receiving similar donations before from Airtel but no one told them to channel it to government account and not to receive it directly.
Minister of Sports Chiumia confirmed to have asked FAM through to the National Sports Council not to receive the donation directly.
When asked why only Prophet Bushiri when others previously donated cash direct to FAM even Netball Association of Malawi meant for the Queens, Chiumia insisted that “It is normal protocol. FAM and the Flames are public entities and therefore that donation is a donation to government and it has to be scrutinised and send through government”
Bushiri, who arrived at Chiwembe Technical Centre in the company of his wife amid pomp and tight security, said the donation was in response to request by Flames coach Ernest Mtawali who informed him of the shortfall on telephone on Wednesday and he decided to come over to help at short notice.
According to Nyirenda the money has been already been deposited into their account by Bushiri.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :