As if the 68 percent reduction on its annual grant from government for the forthcoming financial year was not enough, FAM should brace for more tough times ahead as it has only been left with K15 million ($20 979) from its K32 million ($44 755) anticipated funding.
This follows Malawi National Council of Sports’ (MNCS) move to deduct K17 million ($23 776) it provided to the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) for the Flames’ recent trip to Zimbabwe for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.
Sports Council executive secretary George Jana said although the order that the Flames should fly to Harare other than travel by road came from government, the funding was not a ‘donation’.
The development could affect Flames’ engagements for next financial year such as the Cosafa Castle Cup and the Championship for African Nations (Chan). The Flames also have to fulfil their last 2017 Afcon qualifier against Swaziland.
“Obviously, the K17 million was for other programmes that we had to suspend or postpone to finance the national football team and those programmes still have to be implemented.
“The effect would be as you have suggested [that it could impact on Flames’ programmes]. However, one also needs to study the programmes that FAM has for the forthcoming financial year and their intention, and indeed effect.
“Dependent on these, there could still be other ways of carrying out the programmes without much to do with financing,” said Jana.
He suggested that FAM could use its other avenues of sourcing funds such as gate-revenue, saying: “Remember that FAM has a share from gate collections.”
But while predicting doom and gloom, FAM commercial and marketing director Limbani Matola said the only other option available is to court the private sector.
“Elsewhere, national teams are the responsibility of government and we only run it [national side] on behalf of the Malawi Government.
“On our part, we provide alternatives such as securing sponsorship like we did with Carlsberg Malawi and sale of replica jerseys. Otherwise, it is supposed to be their [government] show.
“So, in this case, we have been thrown into the deep end and, obviously, we will turn to the private sector and whether they are willing to partner us is another thing,” he said.
Matola also said with such kind of lukewarm support, expecting the national team to perform miracles, would be unrealistic.
“I hope Malawians are able to understand and ask whether we are able to match expectations with the level of support.”
He further said apart from the Flames, proceeds from gate collections are channelled towards different development activities such as organising trainings of referees, coaches and administrators.
“It is not like we do not contribute towards Flames activities. In fact, there have been cases where we have funded crucial programmes for the national team.”
However, Matola said he is not aware how much the Flames will need to fulfil their engagements in the next financial year and referred The Nation to FAM general secretary Suzgo Nyirenda, who could not be reached for comment.