Youth and Sports Minister Grace Chiumia yesterday declared that come what may, the national soccer team will complete its 2015 Africa Cup of Nations assignments.
However, Football Association of Malawi (FAM) says nothing has come up yet and it is expected to state its final position today.
The Flames are slated to host Mali’s Eagles on November 15 before travelling to Ethiopia for their final Group B qualifier against the Walya Antelopes four days later, but the fulfilment of the matches is uncertain due to lack of funding.
But despite her upbeat talk, the minister fell short of stating the progress that she has made in her crusade to take a begging bowl to government in quest of raising the K62 million needed for the remaining qualifiers.
“At this point I cannot say how much we have managed to negotiate for, but I can say there is green light from the corporate world, we have made progress and the team will fulfil the remaining games,” said Chiumia.
And on a lighter note, the minister, referring to her adopted middle name ‘Obama’, said: “Obama does not fail and the Flames will play both games, that is what I can say.”
However, a renowned marketer, Wilkins Mijiga, expressed doubts on whether the minister will succeed in her quest.
“It’s a tricky situation because most organisations plan in advance and when they are not given adequate time, it becomes a challenge and in the end it may look like people do not want to assist when in fact it is about awkwardness in the planning.
“Of course, it is an emergency, but the critical question here is at what point did they realise that there was no money for the Flames because this programme was known sometime back,” said Mijiga.
However, Chiumia said they were hoping that Treasury would release a rescue package as they have always done.
However, FAM president Walter Nyamilandu said: “It is reassuring to hear positive remarks from the minister, perhaps they have something up their sleeves.
“For us, nothing has come up yet, but we are having a press briefing tomorrow [today] to make our final position,” said Nyamilandu.
FAM gave itself this weekend’s cut-off point to raise the funds or pull out from the tournament.