President Lazarus Chakwera and Vice-President Saulos Chilima will watch the Flames’ 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) opening qualifier against Ethiopia tomorrow at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe.
Presidential press secretary Anthony Kasunda confirmed in an interview on Friday that the President will be among thousands that will troop to the stadium to cheer the Flames.
He said: “He is the Flames’ number one supporter and wants to be among the Malawians cheering their team.
“His Excellency says we might differ politically, religiously or culturally, but when it comes to football, we have one team, the Flames, because at the end of the day, we are all Malawians.
“So, he is appealing to Malawians to fill the stadium on Sunday and give their team the morale boost it deserves.”
Chilima’s spokesperson Pilirani Phiri also confirmed the veep’s attendance, saying: “Yes, the Vice-President will attend Sunday’s match and he wishes the Flames good luck and victory.”
Flames striker Gabadinho Mhango and self-proclaimed chief supporter Yona Malunga on Friday said the presence of the President and his vice will be boost the team’s morale.
Said Mhango: “It will be great to play in front of the President and the Vice-President, it will definitely give us extra motivation.”
On his part, Malunga said: “The State President is the number one supporter, the Vice-President is number two, the Minister of Youth and Sports [Richard Chimwendo Banda] is number three, the Football Association of Malawi [FAM] president [Walter Nyamilandu] is number four and I am number five.
“I want to assure the President and the entire team that we have mobilised ourselves to support the team from the first to the last whistle. Moti Ethiopia iwona nyekhwe [Ethiopia will see red.”
He also thanked Chimwendo Banda and Nyamilandu for supporting Blantyre-based Flames supporters’ travel to Lilongwe to cheer the team.
Meanwhile, Football Association of Malawi (FAM) has said corporate boxes and VIP seats for the match have sold out.
This means only standard tickets are currently on sale.
FAM commercial and marketing director Limbani Matola said the stadium has 56 corporate boxes with 560 seats.
He said: “Some of them were rented out, but for those that were available have sold out.
“As for the VIP, it has 630 seats, but we reserved 300 seats for VVIPs, partners and other stakeholders as we have also been informed that the State President might watch the match.”
A seat in the comfort of a corporate box was fetching K10 000 and K8 000 for the VIP enclosure.