FAM has said unless funding is unlocked, it remains uncertain that Flames will take part in forthcoming tournaments such as 2018 World Cup qualifiers, Championship of African Nations (Chan) and Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa).
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu was responding to a question on the way forward for the Flames following their failure to qualify for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.
“We have major competitions coming up next year beginning with Chan, Cosafa and preliminaries of the World Cup. We will need to consult widely before coming up with a final decision, but as of now our future participation hangs in the balance unless funding is unlocked,” said Nyamilandu.
However, the FAM president said the Flames cannot afford to forego tournaments such as Chan and Cosafa, if they are to expose promising local players.
“These are tournaments that would provide local players the opportunity for exposure,” he said.
Commenting on Flames exit for the first time, Nyamilandu said: “It is painful that we failed to qualify. It was a tough road from the preliminaries to the qualifiers. We fought a good fight but it was not to be.”
FAM exhausted its K70 million annual allocation from government for the current fiscal year and an extra allocation of about K53 million.
It also used half of the K100 million (US$200 000) sponsorship from Flames’ official sponsors Carlsberg Malawi Limited meant for next year, leaving a balance of K50 million (US$100 000).
The K50 million from Carlsberg was offered through a bank overdraft of which K25 million (US$50 000) was used for the trip to Algeria. The other K25 million was used for the last two assignments against Mali and Ethiopia.
Nyamilandu said they are hoping to use the K7.7 million (US$15 400) balance from the recent fund-raising drive as well as proceeds from gate collections from the Mali game to offset part of the bank loan so that the money could go towards next year’s assignments.
Seasoned tactician Yasin Osman recently suggested the need for government to invest more in the national team.
But Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Youth and Sports Justin Saidi said while he appreciates that the team needs adequate funding, the task should not be left to government alone.
“We have seen FAM securing a sponsor [from Carlsberg Malawi] for the team and in the past couple of weeks, it was encouraging to note that the private sector supported the team’s fund-raising campaign, but there is need to do more in order to generate more funding rather than just looking up to government because it has a lot of responsibilities,” said Saidi.