Malawi finally approves CECAFA participation

In a dramatic twist of events, government says it has approved and will fund Malawi’s participation at this year’s Cecafa senior challenge cup slated for Tanzania from November 25.

Over the weekend, the National Sports Council recommended to the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) to reconsider participation because of the limited time available to prepare and seek approval following Cecafa’s late invitation.

The Council and FAM were of the view that the resources for this competiton be channeled to preparations for the 2013 Afcon qualifier and World Cup games next year.

But on Tuesday, Sports minister Symon Vuwa Kaunda told reporters that Malawi will be part of the show this year and that government will shoulder part of the expenses believed to be around K8 million while Cecafa will also help on the other hand.

He also told parliament that President Bingu wa Mutharika approved that government should fund  the Flames to travel to Tanzania.

“Government is aware that early next year Malawi meet Chad in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers and it is necessary for the Flames to be active,” he said.

Vuwa Kaunda with FAM president Walter Nyamilandu admiring Flames replica jersey

He says the Cecafa senior challenge cup is important for coach Kinnah Phiri to assess locally based players ahead of the qualifiers.

FAM chief executive officer Suzgo Nyirenda confirmed to Nyasa Times that they have received communication from government to go ahead and participate.

Nyirenda says they are now working on the squad for the competition which is expected to join camp on Sunday.

This should come as good news to Kinnah who described Malawi’s failure to particapate as a missed opportunity.

The Flames were pooled in Group C with Kenya’s Harambee Stars, 2012 African Cup of Nations bound Sudan and Eritrea.

Malawi participated last season where they lost 1-0 in the quarters against Ivory Coast.

Before crossing over to Cosafa (Council of Southern Africa Football Associations), Malawi won the tournament three times (1978, 1979 and 1988).

Uganda are still the record champions with 11 titles followed by Kenya (five) and Ethiopia (four). Rwanda’s only triumph dates back to 1999.

Group A: Rwanda, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Djibouti

Group B:  Uganda, Burundi, Somalia and Zanzibar.

Group C: Kenya, Sudan, Malawi and Eritrea

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