Two of Malawi’s opponents in the 2020 Qatar World Cup qualifiers, Mozambique and Ivory Coast, have complicated the Flames budget following the Confederation of African Football (CAF) ban of their national stadiums.
Mozambique Football Federation (FMF) has opted for Morocco as their home ground while Ivorian Football Federation (FIF) is expected to settle for France as their home ground.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) general secretary Alfred Gunda confirmed the development in an interview yesterday.
He said: “Actually, we are now waiting for the Ivorian Football Federation to also communicate where they will play their home matches.
“But from the grapevine, we understand they want to play their matches in France where most of their players are based.”
Gunda said the development will worsen FAM’s financial situation since the Flames are also playing their home games in South Africa following the ban of Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe by CAF.
He said: “It’s going to be a tall order for us, financially. But there is nothing we can do. Just liek us, they [Ivory Coast and Mozambique] are free to choose where they want to play their matches, as long the stadiums are among those that have been certified fit by CAF and Fifa.”
FMF announced they will play their home matches in Tangier, Morocco at a briefing attended by its vice-president Matinho Mucuana and the Mambas coach Horácio Gonçalves.
The association’s website fmf.co.mz said FMF made several contacts to find the alternative venue for the Mambas games, with Morocco responding positively and in good time to the request.
The statement reads: “After last week’s ban on the Zimpeto National Stadium, the Mozambican Football Federation [FMF] reached an agreement with its Moroccan counterpart for the Mambas to host their qualifying matches to the Qatar 2022 World Cup, against Cameroon [October 10] and Malawi [November 16], in Tangier.”
The statement further said the choice of Morocco suits the bulk of Mambas players who play in European leagues.
As it stands, FAM needs an extra K200 million for the upcoming back-to-back qualifiers against Ivory Coast in South Africa on October 8 with the return away leg slated for four days later.
But last week, the Ministry of Youth and Sports said it will be difficult to negotiate extra funding for Flames.
Director of sports Jameson Ndalama said extra funding would be difficult because of the budget constraints.
“So, we are waiting to hear from [Ministry of] Finance to advise us on the way forward. That is the position,” he said.
The Flames are third in the four-team with three points from two matches, having lost their opening match 2-0 to Cameroon before edging Mozambique 1-0.
Malawi are tied on three points with second-placed Cameroon while Ivory Coast top the group with four points. Mozambique anchor the group with a point.