The Football Association of Malawi (FAM) has hailed world football governing body Fifa for its pledge to insure players on international duty.
This follows a promise Fifa president Sepp Blatter made at the Uefa annual congress that the â€œtotal insurance coverageâ€ will take effect after Fifaâ€™s national members approve it at their gathering in May.
FAM president Walter Nyamilandu described it as a good development.
â€œThis is wonderful news. It comes at a time when Fifa member associations have been struggling to insure national team players for international football competitions.
â€œFor many years, FAM has not been able to offer comprehensive insurance policies to national team players due to financial constraints to the extent that most players that have sustained career-threatening injuries while on national duty have not been fully compensated,â€ said Nyamilandu.
The FAM president said the fact that Fifa intends to insure players in international matches signifies that it places highly playersâ€™ health and safety.
â€œThis is commendable because it will encourage players to be committed towards national duty knowing that they are fully covered in the event of an injury.
â€œIt has been noted over the years that the commitment of players towards the national team is different from that of the clubs that employ them. Very likely, the insurance cover will encourage players to die for their country and be able to take risks during the match,â€ he said.
Added Nyamilandu: â€œI commend Fifa for its continued support towards member associations. It shows that it cares and that it has a vision for developing the game of football in all dimensions.â€
Flames battle-hardened forward Esau Kanyenda also hailed Fifa for the move.
â€œObviously the move will encourage players to give out their best when playing for national teams. Players have not been as committed towards national duty as it has been at club level because they risk injuries and Fifaâ€™s move is commendable,â€ Kanyenda said.
In July 2004, Mighty Wanderers midfielder Maxwell Chirwa suffered a career-threatening injury while playing for the Flames against Swaziland. The Flames were not insured.
Chirwa dragged Sports Council to court in 2009 having been dissatisfied with how the council arrived at K144 000 goodwill compensation.
In his statement to European soccer officials, Blatter said: â€œThis is an insurance coverage for the players, for the clubs and the (national) associations for all matches on Fifaâ€™s international calendar.â€
â€œYou have to take into account the best interests of the players,â€ he added.
The development follows a call to use some of its billion-dollar reserves from World Cup revenue to fund an insurance programme.
The subject is on the agenda when Fifaâ€™s executive committee meets March 29-30 in Zurich, Switzerland.