Malawi’s Youth and Sports Minister Enoch Chihana has said government is aware of funding problems the Flames is currently facing.
Chihana said this when he met national soccer players and the caretaker coaching staff at Kamuzu Stadium in the commercial city of Blantyre on Tuesday morning in the presence of officials from his ministry, Sports Council and FAM.
Chihana’s statement came in the wake of government’s move to approve only K67 million (about $172 000) out of the K102 million (about $262 000) supplementary budget proposal by Football Association of Malawi (FAM) to meet the Flames 2014 World Cup assignments up to the end of June.
He said despite the financial challenges, government is fully committed towards supporting the Flames.
“As a country, we are struggling financially, but I would like to assure you of our support and we are with you 100 percent.
“Much as we are in the process of the economic recovery plan [EPR], we’ll try to give you all the required support. You can imagine that the allocation to my ministry is K9 million (about $23 076) and my office gets K900 000 (about $2 307) a month, but we are still able to fund the trip for the national team in excess of K50 million (about $128 205). Can you say government is not committed?” wondered Chihana.
He also proposed to have separate meetings with both the coaching panel and representatives of the players soon after the meeting to hear hear their problems.
“We know that there is a problem of funding, but let us make use of the little money that we have,” he said.
During the meeting that was held in camera, Flames players were scheduled to raise the issue of their incentives.
The minister also declared that he has confidence that the Flames will excel in Windhoek.
“I am absolutely certain that this time we’ll beat Namibia right at their own backyard. I have come here to give you a word of encouragement as you prepare for the trip to Namibia.
“You should not go there aiming for a draw, the focus should be to win the game and I am optimistic that you will deliver because you are in the able hands of [Eddington] Ng’onamo, Ernest [Mtawali] and [Patrick] Mabedi],” he said..
Chihana further said government, through his ministry, has asked FAM to submit their budget for the next financial year for perusal.
Ng’onamo thanked the minister for the visit as they prepare for the game against Namibia.
The caretaker coach also expressed satisfaction with the commitment shown by the breed of local-based players.
“I should say that I am impressed with the level of commitment being shown by the players and the performance is also very encouraging,” he said.