With less than a month before Flames set out on their 2015 Africa Cup of Nations Cup qualification campaign, it is still not clear as to who, between FAM and government, will fund the national team second round preliminary games.
Sports Council executive secretary George Jana said FAM made a commitment to cater for the costs of the two preliminary games.
“When they were asked to prioritise, they [FAM] chose the Under-20 national team. They said they would seek other sources to fund the senior national team and we have a letter to that effect dated March 10,” said Jana.
He said FAM had not said anything to the contrary and the council’s assumption is that the FAM plans are on track.
Asked where funding for the Flames will come from, FAM chief executive officer Charles Nyirenda claimed that based on the clarification by the Ministry of Youth and Sports that they were only asked to ‘prioritise’, the association is still hopeful that government will provide the funding.
When he was informed about council’s position on the matter, Nyirenda said: “Well, we still have two to three weeks ahead and we should come out with a clear position in due course.”
Asked why FAM is failing to court private sector sponsorship as is the case in other countries, Nyirenda claimed that FAM has made strides in that aspect.
“We have courted several companies, but it is about what the economy can offer to sports in general. It is also about what we can offer as a country to attract corporate sponsorship. We need attractive policies,” said Nyirenda.
“Neverthless, we have made strides of late and very soon we will announce an official sponsor for the Flames. Besides that, we have initiatives to get part sponsorship such as tickets donation from Malawian Airlines and substantial reduction of costs from service providers such as hotels,” he said.
In a related development, Nyirenda faulted the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in the manner it came up with the draw and fixtures for the tournament.
“The draw is scheduled for April 27 and three weeks later, we are supposed to play the first leg of the second preliminary round. How do we plan in terms of logistics?” said Nyirenda.
FAM exhausted its allocation for national team activities for the current fiscal year and with government’s focus firmly on the forthcoming tripartite elections, it remains doubtful as to whether the association will get extra funding.
Meanwhile, FAM has said it is hoping that the Flames will be drawn away in the first leg considering that the date of the match is too close to the tripartite elections date.
The second-round preliminary draw is slated for next Sunday and the Flames are expected to play the first leg on May 17.