Mighty Be Forward Wanderers fans were in a scare when rumours spread widely that they were considering pulling out the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League because they could not raise funds for their participation.
Fortunately, it was just a rumour though some impeccable sources confirmed on condition of anonymity that indeed there was some inhouse problems that could have forced the Nomads to pull out and they actually asked Football Association of Malawi (FAM) of the consequences.
The consequences of such a move was going to embarrass their fans and the whole nation that we are not a serious lot when it comes to planning for major tournaments like this.
For Malawi to grow in stature across the Africa continent, we need our clubs to participate in the CAF tournaments. I applaud Master Security for their bold step to register for the CAF Confederation Cup just after a single season in the elite Super League.
We need to establish ourselves as a giant on our own right in the Southern African region by continually participating in the CAF club championships and to do that the teams need to reserve a lot of funds to honour the rigorous and the high cost CAF club championships assignments.
This needs meticulous planning, not like the way we do it. The last time we participated well in CAF tournament was in 2004 through Big Bullets because of the commitment from their sponsor, the former State President Dr. Bakili Muluzi.
Our clubs need to make sure that they generate money from all angles once the season starts to be put in reserve for such participation. Those that enjoy sponsorship should indicate to their benefactors in their budget how they can be assisted to reserve money for CAF tournament participation.
If the teams fail to make the grade to be allowed to participate at the end of the season, then they can still keep that money in reserve till they qualify for participation.
There are many avenues that teams can do to generate money and all it needs are administrators with the zeal to leave a mark by making sure they are transparent with the money they generate and making sure fraud is gotten rid of at the gates.
Football is serious business. Continental club participation can help our players for international exposure which in turn can be of benefit for the Flames. Other African clubs can also tap more talent from Malawi from where they can find their way into Europe.
In my last week’s entry of this column, I expressed my dismay at people who scoffed at government’s will to construct sports stadia instead of other equally pressing amenities yet Malawian fans are always happy when they register for CAF tournament participation.
If we do not have good facilities, where are we going to be hosting visiting teams for our clubs and the Flames? I said that the government indeed needs to revitalise the country with good amenities for its people and definitely one of them are stadia we are trying to reject.
I said we can only ask the government that while it is such a good idea to have the stadia, it should also move at a fast pace to provide other services in great need like excellent road network, drugs in the hospitals, reliable power and water supply, farm irrigation systems and many other needs we are crying for.
Coming back to what Wanderers nearly did, I can only advise clubs to start now in preparing to participate in the CAF championships by reservig funds for it. The stadia can be put to good use where the clubs can generate the much needed funds for continental participation and earn some respect across Africa.