FAM has dumped its earlier ambitious plan to charter a plane for the Flames’ trip to Burkina Faso for Thursday’s 2022 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against the Stallions, saying it is costly.
Last month, Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu said they had resolved to charter flights for the national football team to reduce the risk of contracting Covid-19 and ease travel challenges as a result of travel restrictions.
But in an interview on Thursday, FAM general secretary (GS) Alfred Gunda and Nyamilandu said they cannot afford to charter flights for long trips.
Said Gunda: “For a long trip like that, it would require chartering a big flight that would cost us about $200 000 (about K153 million) and we cannot afford that.”
He, therefore, said the Flames will travel to Burkina Faso on commercial flights which will cost them about K42 million.
“The team will leave the country through Kamuzu Intrenational Airport on Monday for Johannesburg where they will connect to Addis Ababa [in Ethiopia] where they will spend a night.
“Then they will depart Addis Ababa on Tuesday morning for Ouagadougou [Burkina Faso] via Lome [Togo],” said Gunda.
The FAM GS said the route that they have chosen is convenient as players will not be affected in terms of jet lag.
He said similarly, after the game on Thursday, the team will depart Ouagadougou the following day and arrive home on Saturday.
“That will give the players a chance to rest for two days before the return leg on Monday,” said Gunda.
On his part, Nyamilandu said: “We couldn’t afford to charter, it was too expensive. Initially, we had overlooked the big flight aspect.”
Last month, FAM chartered a flight for the Flames’ trip to Zambia for a friendly match which cost the association $24 500 (about K18.6 million).
Defending the move to turn to chartered flights last month, the FAM president said: “It is very crucial that we ease their travel and reduce the risk of exposure of the travelling contingent to Covid-19.
“We are also mindful that Burkina Faso is far away; hence, the need to reduce fatigue, having come from a long lay-off.”