Football Association of Malawi (FAM) says while a draft preparatory plan for Flames 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals is ready, there is no firm position regarding funding with four months before the tournament.
The 33rd continental showpiece is slated to run from January 9 to February 6 in Cameroon and Malawi are in Group B alongside Africa’s top-ranked side Senegal’s Teranga Lions, Guinea’s Syli Nationale and Zimbabwe’s Warriors.
The Flames’ budget for Afcon finals, including preparations, is pegged at K1.5 billion.
In an interview yesterday, FAM president Walter Nyamilandu said having identified Flames opponents, they are currently on the market looking for best options of organising a training camp for the Flames in December.
He said: “We engaged the coach and he briefed us on his plans.
“There are possibilities of overseas camping followed by a series of friendly matches with west and north African teams that have also qualified for the tournament. Suffice to say the upcoming  World Cup qualifiers [against Cameroon, Mozambique and Ivory Coast], will also be part of the preparations
“A lot of match agents are showing interest to provide technical and administrative support to make sure that the Flames thoroughly prepare for the continental showpiece.
“However, this is dependent on availability of resources and at the moment we don’t have a firm position yet on funding.
“We are banking on the initiative that has been set up by the Flames resource mobilisation task force and special funding from Malawi Government through the Ministry of Youth and Sports.”
On his part, Mwase said it is imperative that the team should have good preparations.
He said: “We should not be just be satisfied with qualifying because we have done that before. We need to go there with the spirit of competing and that can only be achieved if we prepare well and hopefully, our proposed programme will be supported in terms of resources.”
Minister of Youth and Sports Ulemu Msungama said they are still waiting for Treasury’s response on their K700 million special request for Flames preparations.
“But we are optimistic that the request will be approved,” he said.
On his part, the Flames resource mobilisation task force chairperson Jabbar Alide, who is also FAM vice-president and a judge of the High Court of Malawi, said they are optimistic of meeting their target to raise K400 million towards the cause.
He said: “We have four months left, but we are very optimistic that we will achieve our objectives. The planning phase is done. We have lined up several activities, some of which have started.
“We have been in touch with our corporate colleagues and we are talking towards the same. We are also about to execute crowd-funding with TNM plc and Airtel Malawi plc to afford all soccer loving Malawians to donate a few they have through Airtel money and Mpamba and, in the process, win a few prizes.”
Alide said they will also host a golf competition at Lilongwe Golf Club and a fundraising dinner.
“However, I must state that it has been very difficult to work under the current Covid-19 situation. We have not been spared as some of the members have been directly affected by the pandemic through loss of their beloved ones and the like. Meetings have been difficult but we are soldering on,” he said.
Flames last qualified for Afcon in 2010 in Angola.