The Minister of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development Henry Mussa has summoned Football Association of Malawi (FAM) to a meeting today over its decision to pull out from the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) and 2018 Championship of African Nations (Chan) tournaments.
At its executive committee meeting held at the weekend in Lilongwe, among other things, FAM resolved to pull out from the two continental tournaments due to financial constraints.
But Mussa yesterday said they want to see if they can collectively salvage the situation.
“As I said earlier, FAM’s decision to pull out was made hastily. So, I have asked the Malawi National Sports Council [MNCS] to arrange the meeting this Wednesday [today] so that we can appreciate their [FAM] challenges and then see if there is something that can be done about it.
“Basically, I am meeting FAM to chart the best way forward. It is about analysing the situation and see if there is a way of addressing it, but you can get more details from the council executive secretary [George Jana],” said the minister.
On his part, Jana said the meeting will look beyond the decision to pull out from the two tournaments.
“It [meeting] will not necessarily focus on the issue of funding alone, there is also the issue of hiring a new coach whereby they [FAM] feel that without a coach, the team would not be prepared enough to participate in such tournaments.
“And then in the event that the money is identified, what is the way forward? What is the intended purpose? Otherwise, these things become rhetoric. So, we want them to outline their plans going forward as well,” he said.
While confirming having been communicated to about the meeting, FAM president Walter Nyamilandu hinted on the possibility of asking for a postponement as he is scheduled to attend a Confederation of African Football (CAF) congress in Ethiopia which will be held on Thursday alongside general secretary [GS] Alfred Gunda.
“We already presented our supplementary budget, so essentially, I think government wants to understand our plans and see how best we can support our programmes and we are preparing a presentation to that effect.
“But I will be attending a CAF elective congress together with the GS, but the vice-president [James Mwenda] is on standby to lead the delegation together with [executive committee member] Jabbar Alide. Hopefully, the meeting can be rescheduled to another date,” he said.
Part of the press release that was issued after the executive meeting, read: “During several rounds of consultations and discussions it was very clear that due to the current economic problems, the government will not be able to provide funding for the team for its participation in the two tournaments.
“It was also apparent that due to the current programmes that FAM was implementing in infrastructure and technical development, women’s football, grassroots and youth football and others, it was not going to be possible either for FAM to bail out the current situation, as it has previously done on numerous occasions.
“[Therefore], having considered all the available options, and in accordance with required notices for withdrawal, it was further resolved that the Malawi national team be withdrawn from Chan competition by March 31 and from Afcon by April 30 2017, due to lack of funding.”
It further reads: “The current huge gaps and shortfalls of our Senior National Football team can only be addressed through recruitment of a well-trained and highly experienced expatriate coach.”