Football Association of Malawi (FAM) says it is pleasing to see how the Flames’ performance at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Cameroon has united the nation.
For the first time ever, the Flames have qualified for the knockout stage of the continental showpiece.
FAM president Walter Nyamilandu yesterday said despite the prevailing socio-economic situation, it was great to see the nation uniting for the Flames cause, citing Malawians’ relentless attacks against BBC on its social media pages for its stand against President Lazarus Chakwera’s pledge to give each player K1 million as well as comments by former presidents wishing the team well during interviews with Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS).
He said: “Such is the power of this beautiful game that it can unite a nation.
“We are proud to play our rightful role in uniting Malawians through the Flames’ exploits at Afcon.”
On the inspirational comments by the former heads of State on ZBS, Nyamilandu said: “The remarks by the former heads of State were inspiring.
“This is a timely motivation for the Flames as we prepare for the Morocco game. Such encouraging statements will make the players die for their country on Tuesday.
“It does instil a strong sense of patriotism which is nececessary for the players to display discretionary effort.”
In an interview with ZBS, former presidents Bakili Muluzi, Joyce Banda and Peter Mutharika said they were proud of the Flames’ feat.
Muluzi, a fomer Nyasa Big Bullets sponsor and Mighty Wanderers vice-general secretary, said: “It is good news. As a football lover, I am really happy and escastic that the team has reached the last 16.
“We should pray for the team. We should encourage the players to give out their best and I know that they will win their upcoming game [against Morocco].”
On her part, Banda, whose husband chief justice Richard Banda (retired), is a former FAM president and Flames and Bullets forward, said: “In a special way, I should congratulate the Flames, particularly the players, the responsible minister and the FAM president.
“When we lost the first match, people were disappointed, but I had no doubts that they would recover and indeed they did by winning their next match [against Zimbabwe].
“We have gifted players and we should, therefore pray for them so that they do well.”
Mutharika said: “I am very happy and proud of the Flames. They are very talented and I am optimistic that they will win against morocco.
“I am praying for them and I ask the nation to rally behind them.”