In a dramatic twist Prophet Shepherd Bushiri has withdrawn his rescue package offer for the Flames for their participation in the 2018 Championship of African Nations (Chan) and 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers.
Bushiri’s communications officer Ephraim Nyondo confirmed the development on Wednesday, saying the South Africa-based leader and founder of the Enlightened Christian Gathering’s (ECG), feels the matter has been politicised.
“He [Bushiri] was disturbed with stories that government was scoffing at the offer [and] he feels his move could be seen as antagonising government.
“He wants a good relationship with government,” said Nyondo yesterday.
Reacting to the new twist, FAM president Walter Nyamilandu expressed worry at the development.
“Of course, his communications officer [Nyondo] got in touch to say he wanted to talk to me, but he didn’t go into details.
“It is unfortunate because we had already started the process of writing government to seek their direction as per the prophet’s instruction.
“There was also going to be an engagement with the Minister [of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development Honourable Henry Mussa]. So, I would say they have made a decision in a haste.
Mussa was quoted in The Daily Times edition of March 20 as having said: “We are a serious government and if the prophet is indeed sincere about his offer, let him come to me like the Rach Family Trust did when they offered to help netball.”
Meanwhile, Nyamilandu has also said their U-turn not to withdraw the Flames from the two tournaments was not because of Bushiri’s offer.
FAM’s change of heart coincided with Bushiri’s offer but the FAM president insisted on Wednesday that it was a mere coincidence.
“[Of course], at this point we cannot rule out anybody, but there are several other sources such as government, Fifa and other well-wishers” he said.
Last year Bushiri, popularly known as ‘Major 1’, also gave K44 million to FAM to meet the costs of 2017 Afcon back-to-back qualifiers against Guinea’s Syli Nationale.