Flames will forego the 2013 Council for East and Central Africa Football Associations (Cecafa) Senior Challenge Cup guest participation, opting for the Cosafa Cup.
On Monday, Football Association of Malawi (FAM) chief executive officer Suzgo Nyirenda claimed that Cecafa involvement would undermine their “harmonised calendar,” as each domestic cup has been allocated three months.
He said the Flames were from 2010 participating in Cecafa Cup because the Council for Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) Senior Challenge Cup, which returns from July 6 this year in Zambia, was dormant.
Asked whether FAM, which struggles to meet expenses for friendly matches, can afford to ignore the Cecafa invite, Nyirenda claimed that Cecafa is not fully sponsored.
“Let me ask you, does Cecafa sponsor our domestic preparations? I do not understand when you people say Cecafa is fully sponsored. Last year, Cecafa sent air tickets for 20 people only,” the FAM CEO challenged.
Seeded due to their better 111 Fifa ranking, the Flames will participate in Cosafa from the knockout quarter-final stage. A loss will result in Malawi’s exit while Cecafa guarantees every participant a minimum of three games.
Cecafa, which meets air ticket expenses and internal costs, has not yet invited the Flames for what could be a third consecutive year. This year’s tournament starts late November in Kenya.
Cecafa general secretary Nicholas Musonye says Malawi is their first guest option.
Cosafa chief operations officer Sue Destombes says their members, once cleared, can play in Cecafa.
Former Flames captain Peter Mponda last month urged FAM to go for both events and broaden local players’ international exposure.
Last Tuesday, FAM president Walter Nyamilandu, despite admitting that air tickets eat much into the Flames’ assignments, said: “It is a foregone conclusion that we belong to Cosafa. It will not be automatic that we will participate in Cecafa.”
Flames interim coach Eddington Ng’onamo on Tuesday chickened out on the Cecafa/Cosafa issue, insisting: “I cannot go against what FAM has said.”