Football Association of Malawi (FAM) aspiring presidential candidates have made some ambitious promises in their manifestos, but they both fall shot on how they intend to implement their blueprints.
FAM president Walter Nyamilandu and his first vice-president James Mwenda, who will face off on December 14 elections, have released their manifestos, which are promising to take Malawi football to the ‘promised Canaan’.
Nyamilandu’s manifesto, titled ‘Raising the Bar’, promises to improve on what he has already achieved in his last manifesto, which was titled ‘Harvest Time’.
Mwenda’s manifesto, on the other hand is ‘corrective’ as it acknowledges that Malawi football is on deathbed and needs to be back on its feet through his ‘Rebirth of Malawi Football’ blueprint.
The two manifestos have focused on five key areas—Grassroots and youth development; Women’s football development; National team performance; Players’ welfare and Commercialisation of football.
Mwenda’s four pillars
In his manifesto, Mwenda has compressed his plan of action into four pillars—Visionary leadership; Football growth and development; Improved resourcing and financing; and Good governance and reforms.
“Among key issues that impinge on growth of football in Malawi are weak leadership, technical and managerial capacities of football management structures at various levels. Under this pillar, my commitment to the football fraternity in Malawi is to provide visionary leadership that will enable (FAM) to spearhead the required “new thinking and direction” that will develop and grow the game to greater heights,” Mwenda says in his manifesto.
On investing in football, Mwenda says he hopes to see football becoming an industry that effectively contribute to the efforts of government, development partners, non-State actors and the private sector in the social economic development of the country, as outlined in the national development strategy.
Under resource and financing, Mwenda promises to develop, grow and commercialise football in the country to raise adequate financial resources and build human and technical capacity to support football at all levels.
“A resource mobilisation strategy will be drafted within my first 100 days of office. This strategy will explore a number of innovative and sustainable ways to raise resources to finance football in Malawi. One of the ways will be capitalising on the blossoming Television industry. We will engage TV sports companies to be involved and invest in Malawi football,” reads Mwenda’s manifesto, in part.
He also promises good governance and reforms within FAM to improve the association’s public image.
“Good governance is a very important component in any organisation which is forward looking and result-oriented. My dream is that there will be transparency and accountability in financial management, decision making and general management of all football affairs.
“Transparency and accountability, participatory decision making and consultation will be the order of the day.
“My leadership, will tackle corruption in football at all levels head-on without fear or favour. We will work tirelessly with relevant statutory authorities to get rid of this vice in the beautiful game.
“As a public football governing body, we will strengthen our collaboration with government and ensure total adherence to public administrative and financial management principles in line with the laws of our land,” Mwenda further says in his manifesto.
Nyamilandu’s ‘Raising The Bar’ vision
In ‘Raising the Bar’, Nyamilandu’s vision is to take advantage of the foundation which he has already laid over the years as FAM president and bridge the gap to improve the status quo.
“I believe, with the foundational efforts registered over the years, it is now time to “Raise The Bar” of Malawi football. It is now time that football should be positioned as a viable economic industry where it is run as serious business for the benefit of the larger community. Suffice to say it is now time for all stakeholders in the football value chain to reap real value from football and become self-sustainable.
“It is now time that football in Malawi should become a lucrative career where it creates wealth for players so they have a brighter future. In line to raising the bar, it is now time that the standards of play of football in Malawi should be improved so that it remains competitive against the rest of the world.
“It is now time that the technical and administrative arms of football are considered highly as catalysts to optimize value of the contributions to the game. It is now time to produce winning national teams that can give profound joy and pride to the football loving Malawians,” says Nyamilandu in his blueprint.
His manifesto outlines 19 points which he has achieved so far.
He takes credit of having introduced vibrant youth football development programmes, brand new national team with systematic style of play and strong nursery youth teams, stable administration without political upheaval or turmoil, reputable and credible organisation of FAM and running the game of football which has attracted high street corporates to partner with FAM.
Nyamilandu also says he has managed to bring good corporate governance as FAM is now ethical, high integrity, compliant, transparent and accountable.
“FAM has financial discipline, stability and increased revenue, consistently year in and year out and has also regained corporate trust and confidence from sponsors.
“We have restored football hype and patronage on and off the field through eradication of hooliganism and acts of violence. We introduced club licensing which is in advanced stages leading to some clubs turning professional.
“We have well organised competitions and synchronised football calendar with minimal conflicts or clashes, fixtures being fulfilled on time as planned with little or none disruptions due to overlapping calendars.
“We have increased infrastructure with modern facilities and state of the art stadium. We have opened a 5 000-seater stadium in Chiwembe,” Nyamilandu’s manifesto reads in part.
Nyamilandu also says FAM has produced high calibre referees consistently officiating matches organised by Fifa and CAF and produced a new generation of high performing coaches that are coaching national teams.
Raising the Bar vs Rebirth of Malawi Football
Both Nyamilandu and Mwenda have promised to invest in grassroots and youth football development.
Their manifestos promise to establish Under-15, Under-17 and Under-20 competitions in all districts
Both promise to establish football academies in Blantyre, Zomba, Mzuzu, Karonga, Lilongwe and Kasungu.
Nyamilandu further promises to turn Luwinga Technical Centre in Mzuzu into a School of Football Excellence and introucde a K10 million annual subvention for youth football.
Mwenda promises to lobby for an improved sponsorship package from the corporate world with a target of Super League sponsorship to be at K250 million.
Nyamilandu, on the other hand, has also promised to lobby for multiple sponsorships for Super League by unbundling the sponsorship packages such as league naming rights.
He has also promised to lease out Chilomoni Stadium formerly, MDC Stadium to Sulom in order to increase revenue generation to Sulom through matches hosted at the stadium and hiring of a chief executive officer for Sulom by subsidising the costs.
Nyamilandu also promises to facilitate the introduction Zambezi Challenge Championship to be participated by top four clubs from Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Both candidates have pledge to support clubs that participate in continental tournament.
The candidates have pledged to increase Sulom finding from K7 million to K15 million.
Mwenda’s manifesto promises to introduce appearance fees for national team players and in replace of daily training allowance. He also promises to increase player’s incentives by 50 percent of the current portfolio.
Nyamilandu on the other hand promises to introduce minimum wage for all football players in the Super League and in the regional leagues and insurance and medical cover for all players on national team duties.
Nyamilandu says player will alsio get 50 percent of appearance fees that the association gets when the national team qualifies for a tournaments.
Apart from raising national team perks, Nyamilandu also pledges to introduce pension for players that have a minimum of 10 caps.
Mwenda promises to collaborate with Teveta and introduce investment and entrepreneurial-certified training programmes for players and engage economically successful legends to mentor current players and guide them on how to invest in preparation for life after football and liaise with Sulom to conduct financial management training for football players.
Nyamilandu on the other hand promises to help build the capacity of Football Players Association (FPA), an independent body FAM helped establish to manage and oversee player’s welfare both socially and economically.
Both Mwenda and Nyamilandu’s manifestos have promised to secure funding for national leagues for beach soccer and women’s football.
The candidates have also promised to build beach soccer stadium.
Nyamilandu has promised to hire women’s football technical director while Mwenda says he will hire development officers for beach soccer and women’s football.
Nyamilandu has also promised to increase women’s football subvention from K5 million to K10 million while beach soccer will now be getting a K5 million subvention.
Though the blueprints touch on all aspects of football development, questions arise on implementation since both Mwenda and Nyamilandu have been at the helm of Malawi football administration for a combined 26 years.