Sports journalists across the country are angry with a social media post by President of the National Youth Football Association, Chimango Munthali, in which he said most of them are not intelligent.
In his Facebook post on May 25, Munthali wrote, “Joab Chakhaza is top drawer. I wish he was a sports journalist chifukwa ma journalist a sports anzeru ndi ochepa kwambiri.” He was comparing Zodiak’s Joab Chakhaza, who everybody agrees has a rare talent as a journalist but does not do sports articles, to a bulk of sports journalists in the country whom he labelled as less intelligent.
This provoked the wrath of so many journalists across the country who argue that ChimangoMunthali developed over the years as a sports administrator to become NYFA President because of the same journalists he was demeaning in his post.
The Football Journalists Association (FJA) swiftly issued a press statement to condemn Mr Munthali’s remarks.
“Football Journalists Association (FJA) would like to condemn in strongest terms National Youth Football Association Chairperson, Mr Chimango Munthali’s statement made on his Facebook wall in which he described sports journalists as ‘opanda nzeru’. This statement is immature and not worth a football administrator of his calibre,” reads the introduction of the press statement which was signed by the association’s General Secretary Mabvuto Kambuwe.
“While appreciating that Mr Munthali has a right to an opinion, it is sad that the NYFA chairperson made the statement against the very same journalists that have played an important role in promoting youth football and NYFA events, including the First Capital Bank Under-20 League which enjoys massive support from the same journalists he has described as lacking intelligence,” reads the second paragraph.
The concluding paragraph says, “We, as FJA, call upon Mr Munthali to apologise and withdraw his statement with immediate effect. Otherwise, failure to do so, all our members will find itdifficult to cover FCB Under-20 League and NYFA events.”
Taking its turn, the Sports Writers Association of Malawi (SWAM) has also issued its own stern condemnation of Mr Munthali’s act through a letter signed by their General Secretary, WesysylusChirwa.
“We at Sports Writers Association of Malawi (SWAM), an umbrella body of sports journalists, sports analysts, commentators, presenters, photo/video journalists and all those involved in the sports media, are appalled with sentiments shared by you, Mr Chimango Munthali, NYFA President on your personal Facebook page,” begins the letter.
“As you are aware, or ought to be aware, these words are blatantly, demeaning, unpalatable, and in a bad taste to have been uttered by someone we hold in high esteem and their effect upon a bulk of sports journalists that we represent is enormous,” reads another part of the letter.
The conclusion of the letter reads, “Kindly, note that unless we hear from you on the above within the next 24 hours of the date hereof, we will formerly register our concern to Football Association of Malawi (FAM), First Capital Bank (sponsors of the Under-20 League) as well as NYFA Secretariat for further redress.”
Reports reaching Nyasa Times indicate that Munthali has apologised in some WhatsApp groups and has since withdrawn his statement from his Facebook wall but some journalists feel he should apologise formerly in writing both to the Football Journalists Association (FJA) and the Sports Writers Association of Malawi (SWAM).