Malawi national football team official sponsors Carlsberg Malawi Limited on Tuesday bailed out the Flames with K50 million (about $73 000) as per sponsorship obligation to enable them participate in the 2016 Cosafa Cup in Namibia.
The handout, presented at Mpira House in Chiwembe, Blantyre, however, came with a strong message that the misfiring Flames must restore the nation’s lost pride in football by registering good results.
Carlsberg Malawi Limited senior brands manager (alcoholic) Twikale Chirwa said this should start with Saturday’s 2017 Gabon Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier against Zimbabwe in Harare.
“It’s very clear that the national team has been going through a bad patch. It’s now time to restore the nation’s pride starting with the game against Zimbabwe. At the Cosafa they should at least finish in top three,” Chirwa said.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu also took time to lecture to Flames players, who witnessed the event, on the importance of changing the Flames’ fortunes.
He said: “You have heard the message from the sponsors. No one wants to throw money anyhow. We almost pulled out of the Cosafa Cup because of lack of funds. When we approached Carlsberg, we were not even sure if they would give us money because they did not have a budget for Flames right now since we exhausted the funding from the sponsorship.”
Nyamilandu was confident that the Flames can turn the tables against Zimbabwe Warriors.
The Warriors are leading Group L with eight points, three ahead of second-placed Swaziland.
Guinea are third while the Flames are at the bottom with two points from four matches.
“On paper they [Zimbabwe] think we are underdogs, but I believe we can turn the tables. If we can win our remaining matches against Zimbabwe and Swaziland, we still have mathematical chances of qualifying for the Gabon Afcon final,” said Nyamilandu.
Flames assistant coach Nsanzurwimo Ramadhan was confident that the team will deliver both in Zimbabwe and Namibia.
“When you are playing there are three expected results—win, lose or draw. But for us there is only one desired result—to win,” he said.
The Flames fly to Zimbabwe on Friday and return on Monday. n