The government and the Parliamentary Committee on Social and Community Affairs have urged Football Association of Malawi (FAM) and Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) to turn increased financial support into success.
Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) executive secretary George Jana and the committee’s chairperson Richard Chimwendo Banda said they lobbied for more funding to the two entities in the 2017/18 National Budget with the hope that they would do well in international competitions and failure to succeed would spell doom for their future allocations.
Last year, FAM and NAM were allocated K34 million each but now their subventions have been upped by at least 800 percent and 500 percent as they are set to receive K300 million and K200 million, respectively. This means the two associations have shared K500 million of the K594 million allocated to over 30 local sports bodies.
“We expect improved results from both football and netball. We want to be proud of our teams but what we see sometimes discourages us to call for more funding. We are, however, optimistic that things will change,” Chimwendo Banda said.
“When associations participate in international games, it is not the people we see that matter but the flag they carry. We are supposed to be proud as a country when we participate in international events and increase in allocation is to allow them prepare fully and get motivated to do well.”
According to Chimwendo Banda, his committee developed a good working relationship with the Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development to lobby for more funding to the two associations.
However, he said sport disciplines need to prove they deserve more funding through better performance.
Jana said government is hoping for more success in terms of development and participation activities in the two disciplines.
“We would also want the two codes and all the others to prudently use the resources of focused strategic programmes that will spur further growth of sports in the country,” he said.
Jana added that apart from the popularity of football and netball in the country, the enhanced financial packages to FAM and NAM were triggered by the number of Flames and Malawi Queens’ engagements.
A huge portion of FAM subvention is set to be used for Flames 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers where they have been drawn against Cameroon, Morocco and the Comoros in Group B. They are also expected to take part in the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) Cup this month.
FAM president Walter Nyamilandu said although they have been given K350 million less than their proposed K650 million budget, they are satisfied with the allocation and they will do their best for the Flames to produce satisfactory results.
When asked if they will have an excuse for failure to produce results, Nyamilandu said: “Success also depends on technical preparations. Performance is not just based on money but how technically sound is the team and what opposition are we facing. Funding puts us on good setting for good preparations and to compete well.”
While applauding the Minister of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development Henry Mussa for his personal intervention and interest to see Flames funding increased, Nyamilandu added that the allocation will also assist them on youth football development, which almost stagnated due to lack of funds.
According to NAM immediate past president Rosy Chinunda, they proposed over K300 million for participation in the Fast5 Netball Series and Youth Netball Championships besides their normal schedules at the African Netball Championships and the Netball World Cup.
The association, which proposed an allocation of over K300 million, also planned to use the money for the construction of netball courts in some districts and the training of netball umpires.
Chinunda’s successor Khungekile Matiya said they are happy that netball has been considered for funding increment and they will make sure every penny is used for improved performance.