Football Association of Malawi (FAM) has, again, postponed a football conference which was supposed to be held this Saturday in Mangochi to discuss the poor state of Malawi football and suggest solutions on the way forward.
FAM general secretary Alfred Gunda yesterday said the meeting will be held in March “ to give selected pundits a chance to prepare thoroughly”.
Initially, the meeting was supposed to be held in October, but was shelved after the date clashed with a Fifa Council meeting in Rwanda which the association’s president Walter Nyamilandu was supposed to attend.
Said Gunda: “There were suggestions from some key stakeholders to be given more time so that we can do a proper evaluation as they will be required to develop presentations.
“We do not want it to be a mere ‘talk show’, but a forum where we can brainstorm and make things better and in the end, shape the direction of the game,” he said.
The FAM GS said there are a number of thematic areas that have been selected such as sponsorship, technical and development “and panellists have been drawn against particular thematic areas”.
Apparently, The Nation has established that some of the association’s fierce critics have been selected to present topics. They include football analyst and marketer George Kaudza Masina, who has been chosen as a moderator with seasoned coach Yasin Osman, football activist Kalowe Ajassi and journalist Pilirani Kachinziri as some of the panellists.
However, Gunda brushed off suggestions that the critics have been included with a view to silence them.“Look, this will not be a court or a finger-pointing forum, but a platform to shape our football by analysing critical areas that need to be worked on to improve our football. That is how we are looking at it,” he said.
Kaudza Masina also dismissed the aspect of advancing FAM’s interests, saying: “My understanding is that we will be raising topical issues for critique so that in the end, we can provide solutions, sikuti atiyika mabanzi mkamwa, ayi ambuye [we have not been palm oiled].” Part of the letter from FAM dated November 22, signed by Gunda and addressed to the panellists which The Nation has seen, reads: “On behalf of the president of the Football Association of Malawi, we have the pleasure of inviting you to participate in the Mpira Summit 2018 which will take place on 21st December 2018, in Mangochi.
“The conference has been organised to provide space for football key stakeholders to have objective and progressive discussions on the current state of our game, with a focus on the performance of the national teams and map a collective way forward. The conference will be an exchange of ideas and opinions on the challenges and opportunities that exist in our game.
“You are earmarked to participate as the panellist in the Technical Section of the conference. The conference presents an opportunity for different opinion leaders in Malawi football to contribute to the betterment of the game. We believe you will honour our request to participate.”
It further states that logistics and accommodation will be arranged by FAM “using the financial policy guidelines, we look forward to meeting you in Mangochi.”.
The conference, dubbed Mpira Summit, was initiated after a group of concerned football fans led by Ajassi, demanded the removal of Flames coach Ronny van Geneugden and the resignation of FAM leadership.