Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu and football analysts have described individual rewards and unofficial pledges to the Flames as a distraction to the team’s progress at the ongoing African Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals in Cameroon.
He made the statement following the increase of informal pledges by some companies and individuals to Flames players if they score in their last Group B match against Senegal this evening.
The Flames could progress to the knockout stages of the 33rd edition of the continental championship if they win or draw against the Teranga Lions.
Said the FAM president: “Much as we welcome individual rewards, we are encouraging well wishers to consider offering group rewards because success is about team spirit.
“We want to foster a strong team spirit, where the contribution of every member of the Flames is highly valued by being rewarded equitably.
“In the same vein, we are also encouraging interested partners and sponsors to formally declare their intention to FAM well in advance, so that their commitments are binding and done in good faith.”
Recently, FAM also warned some companies and business entities that they risk being taken to court if they continue to exploit the Flames’ imagery rights without following proper procedures.
This followed a recent complaint by the Flames Afcon Resource Mobilisation Task Force that several companies and individuals that made pledges during Flames Afcon fundraising activities are yet to fulfill their promise.
Football analysts George Kaudza Masina and Kim Kamau also said companies are making a big mistake by rewarding individual players and making unofficial pledges.
Said Kaudza Masina, who is also a marketer: “It has to be appreciated that if a player scores, it means a number of players have contributed. As such, rewarding an individual does not make football sense at all.
“At the same time, these pledges are more of a hypocrisy. The best time to associate with the Flames was when they were preparing for the Afcon finals through the task force.”
He said what these companies and organisations are doing is more of ambush marketing.
On his part, Kamau said it could have been better had all well-wishers made their pledges during the recent Flames’ Afcon fundraising drive.
He said: “It is not fair for these companies to come with the pledges 10 months after the Flames qualified for the Afcon finals.
“This will only distract the team on their mission to make the last 16 grade,” he said.