Super League outfits Red Lions, Epac and Max Bullets risk being banned for not initiating youth development programmes—a mandatory requirement to access a Football Association of Malawi (FAM) licence.
The FAM Club Licensing System is aimed at improving football infrastructures. It also drives at making the clubs to operate professionally, which would in turn, improve their financial standing.
FAM has declared that a club that is not licensed will be barred from participating in the Super League starting from next season.
According to the Club Licensing regulations, a club is mandated to have well-funded youth development programmes (reserve teams) which are managed by qualified coaches.
Most Super League teams have feeder teams, but Red Lions, Epac and newly promoted Max Bullets, said they still do not have them.
Lions’ coach Pritchard Mwansa attributed their failure to launch youth development programmes to lack of resources.
“To bankroll youth development programmes, you need vast resources, which unfortunately, we do not have,” he said.
“Seriously, we can’t manage a feeder team which will need transport to play games, jerseys and boots among other equipment.”
Ironically, Moyale Barracks, Chilumba Barracks, Mafco and Kamuzu Barracks, which, like Red Lions, are sponsored by Malawi Defence Force, told this paper that they all have reserve teams.
Put to him that the other Army sides have the reserve teams, Mwansa said all army teams do not receive uniform funding.
“Every Army side is sponsored by the barracks where it is located. So maybe our friends in other barracks get more resources,” he said.
However, Moyale team manager Victor Phiri said their setting up of reserve team was not down to vast resources, but rather commitment.
“We may not have much resources, but the little we get we share with the reserve team. We believe that to have a good team, you need a reserve side where you can tap talent,” he said.
Max Bullets owner Max Kapanda admitted that the club does not have a reserve side and a secretariat. He has since asked FAM for mercy.
“We have just been promoted and we can’t have all those things they are demanding. I think it makes sense for FAM to enforce the rules in teams that were already in the Super League,” he said.
Kapanda said it would be unfair for his team to be banned despite earning promotion fairly.
Epac owner Dean Josaya sounded optimistic that he would set up the reserve side before next season kicks off.
“We have started to lay down structures to have the youth development programmes like recruitment of a coach. Hopefully, we will have it when FAM starts the licensing process,” he said.
Super League of Malawi (Sulom), implementer of the Club Licensing System, has since warned clubs that have not met the conditions to put their houses in order.
“There will be no grace period. So clubs must not relax hoping that we will extend the implementation dates,” Sulom president Innocent Botomani said.
Told that Max Bullets is asking for exemption from the licensing process, Botomani hinted that newly promoted teams may be granted compassion.
“We will discuss that during our meeting soon. But personally, I share their concerns,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dwangwa which was recently promoted into the elite league from the Central Region Football League, said it has a youth team. n