Football Association of Malawi (FAM) affiliates believe there will be a tight race in the battles for president, first and second vice-presidents as the local soccer governing body holds its elective general assembly today at Sunbird Nkopola in Mangochi.
The affiliates, who will contribute all the 36 voters at the polls, said the fact that it will be in-house battles on the three top positions makes the elections too close to call.
Incumbent Walter Nyamilandu will be up against first vice-president James Mwenda for the post of president. while Jabbar Alide and Daud Mtanthiko will tussle for first vice-presidency. Incumbent second vice-president Othaniel Hara faces Northern Region Football Association (NRFA) chairperson Lameck Khonje in his quest to retain the seat.
Nevertheless, the affiliates feel the battle for the hot-seat will be the fieriest of them all.
“This has been a unique year of FAM elections because both Nyamilandu and Mwenda are popular and have been in the system for a long time. Theoretically, both have come up with excellent manifestos that can transform Malawi football if implemented,” said Northern Region Football Association (NRFA) general secretary Masiya Nyasulu.
Super League of Malawi (Sulom) president Tiya Somba-Banda said: “Both are strong candidates with a huge volume of football experience, energy and zeal. We wish them well as they run for office. May the best candidate win.”
The Sulom boss said they are glad to see calmness months after a brawl between supporters of the rival camps during a TNM Super League Blantyre derby involving Nyasa Big Bullets and Be Forward Wanderers at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre recently.
Southern Region Football Association (SRFA) chairperson Raphael Humba said it is tough for the affiliates to have predictable choices because all the candidates in all the three sections of the presidency have been in the system for a long time and have strong relationships with all the affiliates.
“Unlike in the previous elections, the presidential race will be very tight. All I can say is that we are prepared and we pray that the polls should be free and fair,” he said.
On his part, Central Region Football Association (CRFA) chairperson Austin Ajawa said the fact that all candidates have campaigned professionally, save for a single incident of violence, makes the polls very interesting.
“As CRFA, we thank all the rival camps for campaigning professionally. Now as we go to the polls, everyone should know differences will always be there. All should respect the outcome of the polls; losers should be graceful in defeat while winners should celebrate without provoking the losers. We should all work together to develop the game,” he said.
FAM Electoral Committee chairperson Sylvester Kalembera, a High Court of Malawi Judge, yesterday said all is set for the polls and they expect all candidates and delegates to strive for peaceful and non-violent elections.