Football Association of Malawi (FAM) is yet to get a guarantee from government for the hosting the 2019 Under-17 Cosafa Championship set for next month in Blantyre despite regulations stating that this should be done at least three months before the event.
Article 2 of the Cosafa tournaments hosting regulations states that the organising association shall undertake to obtain the government guarantee which should be submitted three months before the event.
“The organising association shall undertake to obtain in timely manner all necessary government decrees, licences, permits, grants, orders decisions and other acts required for the organisation, staging and hosting of the tournaments in accordance with the agreement,” part 2.4 of the article reads.
Cosafa deputy chief executive officer Suzgo Nyirenda, a Malawian, said the guarantee assures that government will undertake to ensure smooth hosting of the event by providing essentials such as security, infrastructure, work permits, visas for those expected to participate in the tournament in various capacities as well as duty waivers for free import and export of equipment for the tournament.
“The signed government guarantee and the signed organising association agreement [OAA] must be handed over to Cosafa at least three months before the tournament. But this exercise starts at least a year before the tournaments and Cosafa provides all details, budgets and requirements to host a particular competition. Three months before the tournaments, these documentations should be ready,” he said.
FAM president Walter Nyamilandu was confident that the guarantee will be ready soon.
“We have been assured by Ministry [of Youth Sports and Culture] that the guarantee will be issued and the minister has taken it up personally. The delays are largely due to the current turbulent working environment, otherwise it will be issued,” he said.
FAM is also keeping fingers crossed that government will approve its K150 million budget for hosting the event.
“The most important thing is to secure funding for the hosting of the tournament and we have assurances to this effect. It is, therefore, only a matter of time,” said Nyamilandu.
Though Cosafa will foot some of the expenses for hosting the tourney, the host nation also has a contribution to make.
“There are commitments that Cosafa will undertake to finance the tournament and there are areas also for the host nation. As hosts, like any other participating member, we will incur costs in scouting and training of the team and general administrative costs, planning and preparations for the team.
“Further to that, from the LOC [Local Organising Committee], other subcommittees have been established for various lines which will include but not limited to marketing, media, hospitality, security, refereeing technical, volunteers etc. The subcommittees will, above all, need to meet and plan and execute assignments and also cover some defined costs prescribed by regulations,” said FAM general secretary Alfred Gunda.
Malawi National Council of Sports acting executive secretary Henry Mereka said the ministry is ready to help FAM host a successful tournament.
“It’s a pride to host the tournament and as government we are committed to sponsoring the event so that FAM can deliver. We will be meeting them next Monday to discuss the budget.
“We understand that when hosting such a tournament Cosafa has its role to play and us as hosts, we also have a contribution to make. So, we will hear from them what is required. But as government we gave them a green light to hoststhe event and we will support them all the way,” he said.
Sports Council is expected to use K660 million it got from the provisional National Budget to bankroll FAM’s programmes as well as those of other 40 associations in the next three months.
However, Mereka also noted that the challenge was that a number of programmes are falling in the first quarter of the financial year; hence, the challenge of funding.
“The challenge is indeed that all competitions are coming in the first quarter. We have World Cup, Afcon, Under-17, Wormless Olympic qualifiers and All Africa Games, all at the same time and that means we will be overstretched,” he said. n