Northern Region Football Association (NRFA) has removed two registered teams from the list of FAM’s Covid-19 Relief Fund beneficiaries and replaced them with deregistered outfits.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) has partnered Rab Processors Limited to extend the association’s Covid-19 Relief Fund programme to regional league teams.
The teams’ registered players will receive packs of assorted food items worth K120 million for seven months with effect from June 1 2020.
Nthalire and Kawalazi football clubs registered for the 2020 Simama and Sons (Simso) Premier League and were initially on the list of beneficiaries.
However, in a twist of events, the two teams have been removed from the beneficiaries list and replaced with Chintheche FC from Nkhata Bay and Manyamula FC from Mzimba who did not register for the 2020 season.
Ironically, Chintheche and Manyamula and nine other teams pulled out of the league even before Covid-19 spread to Malawi, citing financial constraints.
The other teams that pulled out are Zolozolo United FC, Kajipoze, Kabwafu, Hewe, Kawaza, Mzimba Young Bullets and Lufita.
However, NRFA general secretary Masiya Nyasulu said the decision to replace Nthalire and Kawalazi was due to logistical problems.
“It is true that we have replaced Nthalire and Kawalazi with Chintheche and Manyamula. The decision to replace them was arrived at considering their logistical hiccups. They are situated in areas that they can make life difficult for other teams to visit them,” he said.
But the two clubs’ officials said NRFA’s reason does not make sense, saying it has been done because of FAM’s Covid-19 Relief Fund.
“They cannot cite distance as a reason why we have been removed from the list of participants this season.
“We did everything on our part and we were approved to take part in the league. This is very unfair,” said Kawalazi FC chairperson Grey Manda.
Nthalire FC chairperson John Kaonga said they will engage FAM if NRFA will not give them a proper response on why they have been removed at the eleventh hour.
“This is not on. We paid affiliation fee to NRFA only to be removed now that there is Covid-19 Relief Funds? We will lodge a complaint with FAM if we are not reinstated on the beneficiaries list,” he said.
FAM general secretary Alfred Gunda said the relief package is for teams that are registered with NRFA.
“We are offering the relief to teams that are affiliated to NRFA,” he said.
The programme is targeting 62 teams with a maximum number of 25 players and five officials and each team will be getting 30 bespoke branded packs valued at K10 000 each.
In total, FAM will distribute 1 860 packs a month which translates to 13 020 packs for seven months.