Fam is in the red again. Budgetary constraints have forced FAM to indefinitely suspend Flames’ camping ahead of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations’ qualifiers against Mali and Ethiopia.
The Flames were supposed to go into camp this Sunday for the games against Mali’s Eagles and Ethiopia’s Walya Antelopes slated for November 15 and 19 respectively.
But in a press statement released Tuesday evening, signed by the association’s general secretary Suzgo Nyirenda, the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) stated that the Flames camping has been postponed until funding has been identified.
“The decision by our main sponsor, Malawi Government, not to provide financial resources for the previous [away] fixture against Algeria and the remaining fixtures, has left us with no option, but to suspend camp training of the Malawi national team to avoid incurring debts that we would not be able to settle.
“FAM would like to further note that in the event that funding is not identified, it will be compelled to withdraw from the ongoing Afcon qualifiers,” reads part of the press statement.
The effect of such withdrawal is that apart from being fined a hefty fee, Malawi will also be banned from participating in any football competition organised by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) for the next two years. The ban will also extend to any international football competition organised by CAF.
FAM further stated that it has exhausted all the available funding and it needs at least K62 million (about $135 000) to complete the remaining fixtures.
And in an interview yesterday, FAM president Walter Nyamilandu set next weekend as the cutoff point for sourcing funds, failing which they will pull out.
“If we can’t get any money during the weekend of November 8-9 then we’ll have to pull out because it will mean that we will not be able to book flights for professional players. We’ll also have to inform CAF a week in advance for fear of being ordered to reimburse costs of preparations for our Mali counterparts,” said Nyamilandu.
However, Minister of Youth and Sports Grace Chiumia yesterday [Wednesday] said she has embarked on a campaign to source funding from the corporate world.
“As government, we really tried, but sad to say we are stretched. We tried to engage our friends at the Ministry of Finance, but things didn’t work out.
“We are now trying to engage the corporate world to assist us and we are appealing to companies, organisations and individuals that can bail the team out, to help us,” said Chiumia, further painting a gloomy picture for the Flames.
But Nyamilandu argued: “I am not sure whether such kind of approach will work considering the time factor. It just confirms the dire situation because these are desperate measures,” he said.
The association stated that it already acquired a bank overdraft amounting to K38 million ($82 600) for the Algeria trip and used K50 million (about $110 000) guarantee from the Flames’ official sponsors Carlsberg Malawi.
“The K50 million that we got from Carlsberg as advance sponsorship for next year, was in a form of a guarantee that will be paid next year and we can only get another debt if there is another guarantee from government. The remainder [K12 million] was used to settle outstanding debts for the same campaign,” he said.
FAM further stated that the development comes at a time when it has utilised K50 million sponsorship funding for this year from Carlsberg at the start of the campaign in June and another K50 million which was negotiated as bailout package [for the Algeria trip].
“The total K100 million [$218 000] funding from Carlsberg was complementary to the funding of K133 million [$289 000] which was disbursed by the Ministry of Sports through the Sports Council. FAM is grateful to the valuable contribution that has been rendered by Malawi Government and Carlsberg because without the funding, the team would not have progressed in the competition,” says FAM.