It’s very disappointing and sad to hear that Football Association of Malawi (Fam) is intending to withdraw the Flames from both the Africa Cup of Nations and the African Nations Championship (CHAN) because of lack of money to fulfil the two engagements.
There has been very heated debate on Facebòok social media with some agreeing to Fam’s decision to withdraw, saying that money can be put to good use such as funding the hospitals and in education.
Commenting on Facebook, many people supported Fam, saying the country can save over K200 million by not participating and that that money can be channelled to other resources on development of grassroots football across the country as Fam looked at building a good team for the future. They suggested that Fam should pay the K8m fine to CAF and move on.
Others blamed it all on Fam president Walter Nyamilandu, saying he has failed to make sure that Fam was self sustaing rather than relying on the funding from government.
Most of the attacks on Nyamilandu were negative and never offered any solutions at all and bordered on emotional rather than constructive. Others suggested that Nyamilandu should have been going around the corporate world seeking sponsorship for the Flames rather than asking the government.
Several came to the defence of Nyamilandu, saying it’s the duty of Fam to fund the Flames and I agree. That is why there is the Malawi National Council of Sports, which is mandated to overseer sports on behalf of government.
The Flames and other sports disciplines, when they go for international tournaments, are the responsibility of the government. They carry the national flag. Other stakeholders are free to support if they see that there is marketing potential through broadcasting rights.
That’s what happens everywhere. When South Africa, for example, travel across Africa, their other sponsors such as Castle or Standard Bank or MTN, support them because their products and services are found everywhere. So they use the glamour sorrounding Bafana Bafana to market themselves further in the countries where the team is participating.
Which company in Malawi exports its products extensively across Africa that can entice them to scramble for space to advertise by supporting the Flames? Our football set up is not conducive for sponsors to think that the Flames can expose their businesses.
We are at the mercy of these sponsors and that’s why they pull out as easily as they come in. In other countries, the companies bid for sponsorship contracts and the highest bidders are considered.
It’s very unfortunate that there is a wrangle involving Sulom, TNM and Competition & Fair Trading Commission over the TNM Super League sponsorship. This is all because Fam allowed TNM’s fierce competitor Airtel to come in to sponsor the Top 8.
When the deal for Airtel to come into football was unveiled we all thought all the stakehokders had come to a mutual agreement for the good of football only to hear that TNM has suspended its renewal of the contract with Sulom. Nothing much is being explained as to what is happening.
We just hear rumuors that TNM might not be happy after all with the coming in of Airtel because there was a clause in their contract that barred its competitors from penetrating into football. That’s where Competition & Fair Trading Commission came in.
Football in Malawi owe so much to TNM for coming to support it when other companies shunned it over 10 years ago. TNM has done a lot to football and they should be encouraged to continue giving us the best. They should not be taken for granted and the powers that be should seriously bring all the stakeholders together to resolve this positively.
As for the Flames, the government must not allow Fam to withdraw from the two competitions — at least not from the Nations Cup. The embarrassment of doing so is not on just Fam but the national flag. Football is serious business that’s why governments out there push their FAs to bid to host international tournaments.
Nobody should cheat us that other FAs out their do not fully support their national teams. They do massively and the other stakeholders are supplementary for the FAs to carry out other develoment programmes.
Please, let’s not allow the Flames to withdraw. The views that the Flames always lose anyway should not hold water at all. We should analyse first where the Flames go wrong and we will realise that we do not give our dear Flames the right resources for them to perform well.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :