The Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) has painted a gloomy picture on the Flames’ funding, disclosing that the team has already spent K78 million ($141,818) from the K100 million ($181,818) allocation Parliament approved in the 2015/2016 national budget.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) now remains with slightly over K21 million ($38,181) to manage four crucial national team assignments that fall under the prevailing financial year which ends in July next year.
The assignments, according to FAM calendar, are the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) group qualifying matches away to Guinea in March next year and a return fixture against the west African nation in the same month.
The Flames will later compete at the Confederation of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) before facing Swaziland in another Afcon tussle.
However, FAM’s solace is that there is still K125 million ($227,272) remaining from the three-year sponsorship with Carlsberg Malawi which expires next year.
An expenditure analysis the Sports Council executive secretary, George Jana made available to The Nation shows that FAM spent K34.6 million ($69,909) on the Afcon encounter away to Swaziland, K21. 5 million ($39,090) on the World Cup qualifier against Tanzania two weeks ago and K20.2 million ($36,727) on the return game against the Taifa Stars.
The financial breakdown also indicates that FAM paid K1. 2 million ($2,181) for South Africa Airways air tickets for Uganda national team which played against the Flames during Independence Day celebrations at Kamuzu Stadium.
The football governing body also paid K878 330 to Malawian Airlines for transporting the Uganda team to Malawi from South Africa where they had landed through South Africa Airways.
Queried why the money for tickets was paid from the Flames allocation and not the Independence Day budget, Jana said the money was for fines the airlines imposed on the Ugandans for changing travel dates and travelling personnel.
“The airliners wanted instant payment, so we had to withdraw from the Flames allocation because waiting for government funding could have delayed the team’s arrival,” he said, adding that “government will refund the money”.
FAM general secretary Suzgo Nyirenda attributed the financial situation to Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning’s decision to cut the funding proposal.
“We proposed that the ministry should give us K500 million for the Flames assignments, but they cut K400 million,” he said.
Nyirenda said the situation may disrupt their planning, but was optimistic that they will not withdraw from any competition the national team is committed to.
“This is a serious problem which we are facing. We just hope that we will find other avenues to raise enough money, for instance, maximising on gate collections; otherwise, our dream is to participate at Cosafa and fulfil all the Afcon fixtures,” he said.
On average, FAM spends K30 million on each game with the bulk going to purchase of air tickets and accommodation. It means to play three Afcon matches and participate at the Cosafa competition, the soccer governing body needs about K120 million.
Meanwhile, the Flames called for support from the corporate world so that it fulfils what Nyirenda described as the national team’s rebuilding exercise and already, Airtel Malawi has responded positively with a K15 million donation.