Despite the Malawi national football team’s impressive performance at the Cosafa Cup in Durban, South Africa, Football Association of Malawi (FAM) is yet to pay players their full external travel allowances and game bonuses.
The association only paid the players allowances up to the last group stage match apparently in anticipation that they would not make it to the quarter-finals as has been the case for the past three years.
However, the Flames went on to stay in South Africa up to the last but one day of the 15-day tournament.
A senior player expressed his disappointment at the association’s lack of confidence and trust in the team.
“After a week, we were left with nothing because the association only gave us allowances for a week. Actually, we almost boycotted training when we learned that FAM only provided funding for a week.
“But because we wanted to prove that we love our country, we went on to train though we lost in the quarter-finals against Zambia,” he said.
The Flames stand-in captain at the Cosafa Cup, John ‘CJ’ Banda, confirmed that they were yet to get their allowances.
“But they promised that we will be paid this week,” he said.
FAM finance director Christopher Mdolo attributed the delay in paying the players to cash flow problem.
He said the association asked for K58 million from government for the Cosafa Cup trip, but only got K18 million this week.
“Funds are now available and we are processing the payment. Otherwise, we paid them all their external allowances from May 24 to 30. This means we owe them allowances from June 1 to 7. Nowadays, we do our best to ensure that we don’t owe the players,” Mdolo said.
FAM also promised the players special bonuses for reaching the quarter-finals and Mdolo said this will wait for the executive to authorise the payment.
FAM general secretary Alfred Gunda wondered why the players were complaining after the secretariat explained to them the situation.
“The players were told last Thursday that their funds will be paid by Wednesday,” he said.
But soccer analyst Kim Kamau blamed the association for having little trust in the Flames.
“You mean FAM sent the team to South Africa with inadequate funds? It does not make sense. It just shows that the association had no trust in its own team.
“After all, the team qualified for the quarter-finals after two group matches and FAM knew that they would be at the tournament up to the last but one day since they qualified for the Plate section,” he said.
Apart from the promised extra bonus, the players get K100 000 for a win and K50 000 for a draw.
Malawi beat Seychelles 3-0, Namibia 2-1 and drew 1-1 against Mozambique in group stages to qualify for the quarter-finals.
The Flames lost 4-2 to Zambia on post match penalties after giving away a two-goal lead in normal time.
They beat Comoros 2-1 in Plate semi-finals and lost 5-4 to South Africa in the final after a goalless draw in extra time.