Football Association of Malawi (FAM) has cancelled supporters trip to Zimbabwe where they were supposed to cheer the Flames in Saturday’s 2017 Africa Cup of Nations’ qualifier against the Warriors due to the renewed conflict in Mozambique.
About 70 supporters were expected to travel to Harare by road on Friday, but FAM general secretary (GS) Suzgo Nyirenda on Monday said considering the situation in Mozambique, they saw it wise to cancel the trip.
“You will recall that just last week, government [through the Malawi National Council of Sports] told us that it would not be safe for the team to travel by road and they even provided funding to have the team flown to Harare.
“So, under the same circumstances, we have cancelled the supporters’ trip. We would be putting lives of 70 people at risk and we would be answerable in case something happens. We can’t afford to take any chances,” said Nyirenda.
The FAM GS said the national team supporters committee chairperson Yona Malunga, who was also one of the organisers of the trip, has already been communicated to about the development.
“Mr. Malunga is aware of the development. We explained to him about the risks of proceeding with the road trip and he understood our position.
“Of course, considering the importance of this match, a contingent of 70 fans would have made some difference, but we now have to rely on Malawians living in Zimbabwe to give their team moral support,” he said.
Malunga said while they were disappointed with the development, there is nothing they can do about it.
“We had already identified over 50 supporters for the trip and some companies such as Carlsberg Malawi and Superior Halal had promised to assist us in kind.
“On its part, FAM was ready to provide us with a bus and fuel, but under the circumstances, we just have to accept that the situation is not ideal for a group of about 70 supporters to travel by road, it is a security issue and we cannot blame anyone,” he said.
Initially, FAM had also planned that the Flames should travel by road due to lack of funds but following government intervention, the team will now fly to Harare on Friday—just a day before the game.n