Football Association of Malawi (FAM) has turned down Athletics Association of Malawi’s (AAM) request for footballer-cum-sprinter Asimenye Simwaka to participate in national championship at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe on Saturday.
In an interview yesterday, AAM acting general secretary Mzee Makawa said they were disappointed with FAM’s move, saying the competition is important to assess athletes for international events.
A letter to FAM reads, in part: “The above-named is both a footballer and an up-and-coming athlete who put the country on the map by becoming the first Malawian ever to reach the quarter-finals of the just-ended Tokyo 2020 Olympics. She has been called into camp for the forthcoming Cosafa women’s football tournament coming at the end of this month.
“At the same time, Athletics Malawi will be hosting the 2021 National Athletics Championships on September 25 2021 at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe, where athletes for the forthcoming Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and World Athletics Championships 2022 in Oregon, USA, will be selected. For one to compete at such events, qualifying time at a national championships is a-must.”
AAM said they wanted FAM to allow her to compete and join the national football team later in South Africa.
“The women’s football team will leave for South Africa slightly close to the date of the national championships. Our writing is to seek your indulgence that Asimenye Simwaka must be allowed to compete at the national championships on September 25 2021 and join your team in South Africa the following day,” reads the letter further.
FAM general secretray Alfred Gunda could not be reached for comment, but national women’s football technical adviser Patrick Mabedi, who wrote AAM yesterday, said the player would not be released. In his statement to AAM, which we have seen, Mabedi tells the association that the player will not be released, citing reasons, including that she is on national duty and that she is also just recovering from injury.