Football Association of Malawi (FAM) has conceded missing out on tapping talent from the mushrooming campaign football competitions sponsored by politicians in the countdown to next year’s Tripartite Elections, saying their hands are tied as they want to remain non-partisan.
Due to financial limitations, there are not many football tournaments in peri-urban and remote areas in the country sponsored by government or companies. But as we head towards elections there are football tournaments in almost all the constituencies and wards, providing a platform for FAM to scout for talent.
However, FAM president Walter Nyamilandu says while trophies that are sponsored by politicians present them with a wonderful opportunity to identify talent in the rural areas, their hands are tied as they want to remain non-partisan.
“There is also need for a better structure on how to manage them because they are unstructured and in most cases unorganised.
“It would be great if there was an enabling policy in place for licensing of these competitions so that FAM and other football stakeholders like football clubs can all yield the intended outcome of these competitions,” he said
“This would also empower involvement of FAM without attracting any political connotations. We fail to assist in most cases because they are usually politicised.”
He said if the competitions were structured and properly licensed, FAM would deploy scouts in each district to tap talent.
During the launch of football and netball trophies in his constituency, member of Parliament for Lilongwe Msodzi North Sosten Gwengwe told Weekend Nation that apart from keeping the youth healthy and busy, the tournaments were about developing sports in the country.
“We want to contribute towards sports development through these tournaments. We have huge talent which goes unnoticed in our communities. We would like to see scouts from [TNM] Super League teams to be coming here to appreciate talent which can transform our national teams,” he said.
During the launch of K5 million football and netball trophies at Mpatsa ground, former sports minister Francis Kasaila, who is also member of Parliament for Nsanje Central, also told the media that the tournaments were platforms for identify and nurturing talents for national teams, a thing which is yet to be utilised by FAM.
“Government cannot do everything alone. As individuals, we need to support government in promotion and development of sports in our communities. We have great potential in rural areas which if unearthed and nurtured can contribute significantly in making our national teams successful when representing the country.”
Football analyst and former FAM acting general secretary George Kaudza Masina said the problem with competitions sponsored by politicians is that they are not regulated.
“The organisation is handled by political people. If our politicians were involving district sports officers in planning and organisation of such tournaments, it would be easy for football or netball administrators to utilise this good opportunity. If well regulated, it could give FAM a good opportunity to reach out to remote areas. Even in netball the Malawi Queens could benefit, “ he said.
FAM technical director John Kaputa said they can only attend the games on invitation.
“In the past, upon invitation from politicians we have attended some games especially during the launch of the tournament or finals. Because of uncertainty of tournament’s fixture schedule it is not easy to follow up. But it is a good platform to search for talent,” he said.
On his part, Blue Eagles Sisters coach Sam Kanyenda said: “Most times the sponsorship is just once in five years. It can take a year just to finish a tournament because they are seeking votes and not necessarily promoting sports. For a club or FAM and NAM to organise logistics towards that is not easy. It is all about getting votes, “ said Kanyenda.