Football Association of Malawi (FAM) affiliates are today expected to make a decision on whether to introduce bachelors’ degree as the minimum qualification for those wishing to vie for the association’s presidency.
FAM is meeting heads of its nine affiliates this afternoon in Mangochi to deliberate several constitutional changes recommended by the legal subcommittee.
However, the centre of controversy is the proposal to introduce a degree requirement for the position of president, first vice-president and second vice president, Weekend Nation can reveal.
Currently, FAM statutes have no specific requirements for the presidency.
Members of the executive committee (including the presidents) are only required to have a Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE).
Most of the affiliates we interviewed, though admitting that academic qualifications contribute to good leadership, had reservations on the proposal of a degree benchmark.
National Football Referees Association (NFRA) general secretary Chris Kalichero said education is important in any field, however, there was need to tread carefully when making constitutional changes.
“We need to accept the reality on the ground. If you look around, the people that have been successful in football administration in the country are not necessarily degree holders. Should these people be denied to contest for the presidency just because of the degree requirement? What about those that have degrees and are in football administration; have they done anything that would be attributed to them having a degree?
“I think this will be unfair to our football to introduce a degree requirement at this point. We have MSCE qualification which is recognised by government as the basic benchmark; let us leave it like that. Those that have MSCE can contest, and so can those that have degrees.”
National Women Football Association (NWFA) chairperson Severia Chalira suggested the qualification to be at diploma.
“Things have indeed changed. The world has changed. When you are FAM president you attend high profile meetings. If you have a good academic qualification, the level of understanding and how you articulate issues is much easier and better.
“These days the corporate world, who play a huge role in supporting football, trust someone who is capable of handling issues professionally; a leader who is competent; someone with sound academic qualifications.
“But then some people are born natural leaders. Some people may not have a degree but they are natural leaders. Some are highly educated, but they don’t have leadership qualities. My opinion is that we should not hurry to introduce the degree requirement. Let’s first put it at diploma.”
Other FAs statutes on academic qualifications
FAM statutes Article 34 reads: “Members of the executive committee shall be more than 30 years of age and shall possess a minimum of a MSCE or its equivalent.” .”
But the other Cosafa region FAs statutes as well as that of the motherbody, Fifa, have no academic requirements for those vying for positions in their executives including the presidency.
Most of them stress on experience and integrity of the executive members.
South Africa Football Association statutes Article 32.4 states that: “The Members of the National Executive Committee shall have been active in football, must not have been previously found guilty of a criminal offence and sentenced to a period of imprisonment without the option of a fine and have residency within the territory of the Republic of South Africa.”
Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) Article 32 states that: “The members of the Executive Committee shall have already been active in football administration for at least five years, must not have been previously found guilty of a criminal offence as defined under national criminal law and have residency within the territory of Zifa.”
Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) and Botswana Football Association (BFA) statutes are also silent on academic qualification.
Commenting on the amendments, football analyst Charles Nyirenda said FAM affiliates must first identify Malawi football problems.
He said: “Is the problem in our game education qualifications? If not what has prompted this move to introduce the degree requirement? Are those with higher qualifications in our football performing? Yes, higher education qualifications are good but not a prerequisite to success, I’m afraid. I only hope the changes are not targeting those who want to contest in 2019 FAM elections.”
“Show me evidence that with people of such papers at the helm, Malawi will do well. As a matter of fact, you just require a visionary or natural leader at the top and expert operatives underneath to get the job done.”
But FAM president Walter Nyamilandu said the affiliates will decide what is best for Malawi.
“In any case, the owners of the statutes are the affiliates and they will make a decision on any proposed amendments of the statutes.”
FAM general secretary Alfred Gunda, said the constitutional changes that will be accepted will be adopted at the December general assembly.