The Football Association of Malawi (FAM) is today expected to announce Flames’ assistant coaches as the team starts preparations for the 2018 Championship of African Nations (Chan) qualifier against Madagascar on April 22.
Despite delays in preparations due to uncertainty over the team’s participation and appointing of the technical panel, FAM president Walter Nyamilandu yesterday insisted that the Flames will be in shape to compete, and not just participate.
While the Flames have been inactive since September last year, Madagascar have been active after playing back-to-back 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) preliminary qualifiers against Sao Tome and Principe, which they won.
However, the FAM boss said three weeks was enough for the Flames to be in shape for the match.
“Styles of preparations differ my friend. The team has three weeks, which is enough,” he said.
Government has since approved funding for the two tournaments after weeks of speculation on whether money would be available for Chan and Afcon.
Minister of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development Henry Mussa yesterday confirmed that government had approved funding for Flames’ participation.
“Yes, proposal for additional funding has been approved and the Flames will take part in both Afcon and Chan,” he said.
He could not be drawn to disclose the amount that will be provided, but FAM submitted a K280 million additional budget proposal to cover the Flames’ remaining engagements in the current financial year.
And reacting to the development, Nyamilandu said: “This is money earned the hard way. We are not just participating for the sake of it. In fact, Malawi has never participated in a competition just to add numbers.
“This is a huge relief to us. The intervention has saved us from withdrawing from the two tournaments which could have had far-reaching repercussions. I salute the minister for his personal involvement in the matter and applaud government for coming to our rescue.”
Government’s commitment came just days after South Africa-based Prophet Shepherd Bushiri pledged to bankroll the Flames’ participation in the two tournaments.
The FAM boss could not reveal the technical panel or the budget for the match against Madagascar, saying the details would be available at the press briefing.
“Don’t jump the gun. The GS will explain the whole programme during the press briefing to be held tomorrow [today] at Mpira Village,” he said.
But so far Gerald Phiri and Deklerk Msakakuona have been tipped to understudy an expatriate coach.
On the budget for Madagascar game, our estimates indicate that the trip will cost not less than K70 million.
Local camping for three weeks for the squad usually costs around K6 million. A ticket from Malawi to Madagascar via Johannesburg, costs around K1 million and a squad of 25 would require K25 million.
External allowances for 19 players for five days at $75 per day and six officials at $100 per day, comes to K7.4 million. The team usually travels with a contingency of $5 000.
Since the team will have to spend a day in Kenya en route to Madagascar, FAM needs a minimum of K2.5 million for accommodation in Nairobi and another K30 million for accommodation in Antananarivo.
However, if Malawi opts to enter an agreement with Madagascar FA for the hosts to foot accommodation expenses, the figure may go down from K70 million to K45 million.
Soccer commentator George Kaudza-Masina, while thanking government “for coming to Flames’ rescue”, said it is high time, the two parties coordinated properly on Flames’ programmes.
“The national team is government’s responsibility and approving funding at the eleventh hour affects planning and preparations, on the other hand, FAM should also desist from the tendency of threatening to withdraw from competitions as a gimmick to attract government’s attention.
“FAM also has a responsibility of supplementing government’s efforts, their commercial department needs to wake up from its deep slumber,” he said. n