Malawi Government has said the Flames trip to China is not a priority for now because the nation is mourning the death of former State president Bingu wa Mutharika.
Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports Alex Mseka was reacting to FAM president Walter Nyamilanduâ€™s claim that the association is waiting for governmentâ€™s approval for the team to go into camp.
Mseka on Tuesday also said the trip is waiting for the approval of the new State President Joyce Banda.
It has also been revealed that according to an agreement by the two countries, Malawi Government will foot part of the Flames travel expanses.
A well-placed source said Tuesday that government is yet to approve the trip because funding for travel expenses has not yet been sourced.
â€œThe preparations for the trip have just coincided with the State funeral, but the fact is that government is yet to approve the trip because funding has not yet been sourced.
â€œThe Chinese Government only committed to meet the costs of hosting the team in China, but the costs of the teamâ€™s return air travel would be met by Malawi Government.
â€œHowever, after negotiations, the Chinese Government accepted to meet half the cost of the teamâ€™s travel expenses,â€ revealed the source.
But when contacted on fundingÂ Tuesday, Mseka said: â€œI donâ€™t know about that.â€
However, he confirmed that government will meet part of the Flames travel expenses.
â€œThe thing is when the Chinese Government accepted to host the national team, we sought H.Eâ€™s [His Excellency] approval and we need to get a green light from the [current] H.E.
â€œIn normal circumstances, this is an agreement and there has to be a sending party and a receiving party. And therefore, the sending party is supposed to pay for the travel costs while the receiving party will meet the costs of hosting the 35-member delegation. This is an agreement,â€ Mseka said.
The PS also said there is no need to press the panic button because the Flames are not going there to compete.
â€œYou have to understand that this is just an exchange programme, itâ€™s not a competition. The team can go there anytime. Itâ€™s not a priority at the moment.
â€œAt the moment, we are in the state of mourning. So, letâ€™s have first things first then we can go into other things,â€ he stressed.
Nyamilandu said while the association understands that the country is mourning the death of the former president, but official business is still going on even in government.
â€œWe are ready to send the team in camp even today because public holiday has not been declared, and then we can break on the day of the burial.
â€œBut we are waiting for government to officially sanction the trip and give us the go-ahead to start preparations. In as far as we are concerned, the trip has not been cancelled, it is still scheduled for April 23,â€ Nyamilandu said.
The Flames are scheduled to face the Chinese on April 25 in preparation for  World Cup and  Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers as well as the Cosafa Senior Challenge Cup.