Just in time. Treasury has approved Ministry of Youth and Sports’ request for Malawi National Football Team’s extra funding for the remaining 2022 Qatar World Cup qualifiers.
The development has come as a sigh of relief for Football Association of Malawi (FAM), which last week threatened to withdraw the Flames from the tournament.
In an interview yesterday, the ministry’s spokesperson Ali Kalichero said Treasury has approved K401 million to cover all the remaining four matches.
He said: “Several meetings have taken place since last week and I can confirm that Treasury has accepted our request.
“The funds will be transferred directly to Malawi National Council of Sports who will do the needful.”
The Flames’ next match is this Friday against Ivory Coast at Malawi’s borrowed home ground, Orlando Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa following Confederation of African Football’s (CAF) decision to ban Bingu National Stadium from hosting the World Cup qualifiers.
Kalichero also said they are optimistic that the funds will be released before the Flames’ departure for South Africa today.
Ministry of Finance spokesperson Williams Banda was not available for comment yesterday.
But FAM yesterday said in a statement that government has committed to provide extra budgetary financing for the Flames.
Reads the statement in part: “In view of this development, Football Association of Malawi wishes to advise Malawians that the Flames will proceed with preparations for the back-to-back fixtures against Ivory Coast.
“Having received this assurance of funding, the locally-based players, who assembled for camp training, have been booked to travel to South Africa tomorrow [today] where the team will team up with professionals.
“FAM is very grateful of this valuable support and appreciates the sacrifice that the Malawi Government has made to bail out the Malawi National Team.
“This demonstrates strong desire by the Malawi Government to develop Malawi football so that the Flames excel in international competitions.”
Last week, FAM shelved its intention to withdraw the Flames from the tournament following an appeal from government that the issue was being looked into urgently.
FAM president Walter Nyamilandu said the association needed K200 million for the back-to-back matches against Ivory Coast, having exhausted a similar amount which was its allocation for the current financial year.
Malawi are third in Group D with three points from two matches following their 2-0 loss to Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions and a 1-0 victory over Mozambique’s Mambas.
The Flames are tied with second-placed Cameroon on points, but the Indomitable Lions have a better goal difference.
Ivory Coast top the group with four points, a point above the Flames while Mozambique anchor the group with a point.