Confederation of African Football (CAF) says it will increase the prize money for 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals scheduled for next January in Cameroon.
Malawi’s Flames will be among the 24 teams at the continental showpiece and Football Association of Malawi (FAM) has since commended the CAF leadership for the move.
CAF president Patrice Motsepe was quoted by cafonline.com as having said: “We are planning to increase the prize money and we are currently in discussions with sponsors”.
At the 2019 Afcon, champions Algeria received $4.5 million (about K3.7 billion) in prize money, the runners-up Senegal got $2.5 million (about K2 billion).
Motsepe further said CAF wants to introduce prize money for players to prevent teams haggling over bonuses.
The South African business mogul said the Afcon is as good as other football competitions around the world and, therefore, CAF wants to make it “self-sustaining, competitive and exciting”.
“We should increase [the prize money] so as to make our competitions more competitive in the future,” Motsepe said.
“We have to take urgent steps to deal with the financial challenges we are facing. I am positive that our objective will be achieved.”
Reacting to Motsepe’s announcement, FAM president Walter Nyamilandu said: “The decision by the CAF president to review the prize money is commendable and long overdue.
“It will make the tournament more competitive since the stakes will be much higher.
“It will also raise the profile of the Africa Cup of Nations and distinguish it to be more prestigious.”
However, he said it will be important that consideration should also be made to the qualification bonus for the participating teams bearing in mind that the cost of preparing for the tournament is huge.
The Flames, who will be making their third appearance at the African safari, have never made it past the group stages, but their captain Limbikani ‘Pupa’ Mzava said they are looking forward to breaking that jinx.
“It is a tall order because we will be up against the cream of the tournament. But with self-belief and good preparations, we can do it. We just need to be focused and determined,” he said.