Retired Flames defender Elvis Kafoteka has taken Football Association of Malawi (FAM) to court for failing to compensate him for the injury he suffered while on national duty during the Cecafa Tournament in Tanzania in December 2010.
The Moyale Barracks defender told The Nation yesterday he has decided to take the matter to Blantyre Magistrate’s Court through his lawyer Bob Chimkango after realising that FAM is playing hide-and-seek on the issue.
Kafoteka suffered an open fracture on his arm when Malawi played Cote d’Ivoire. Since then, the 35-year-old has been struggling to recuperate as he is yet to find enough money to have two metals that were inserted in his fractured arm about two years ago removed.
He said FAM had initially promised to bankroll the removal of the metals and refund close to K400 000 (US$956), which he, with the help of his former Rwandan club APR, paid at a military hospital in Rwanda.
According to Kafoteka, the Rwandan side offered the financial backing for his operation because they wanted him to be in good shape as they prepared for African Club Championships.
“I tried to be patient due to the respect I have for FAM, but it seems they take me for a fool. I am suing them because I got injured while on national duty. My lawyer told me hearing for the case starts next week.
“When I first decided to take the matter to court, FAM pleaded with me to withdraw the case, saying they would sort me out but now there is no turning back. It is time FAM stopped treating injured national team players as fools,” he said.
He added that FAM officials advised him to personally take the matter to Sports Council where he was sent back because they first wanted a letter from the local football governing body concerning information about his injury. However, he claimed FAM failed to give him the letter.
Chimkango confirmed that he is handling Kafoteka’s case.
He said Kafoteka sued FAM in 2012 and the two parties agreed to settle the matter out of court.
“We are still waiting for assessment of damages,” he said.
When contacted yesterday, FAM president Walter Nyamilandu referred the matter to general secretary Suzgo Nyirenda, who could not pick up calls despite several attempts.
“I cannot comment on that because it is an operational issue that can be answered better by Suzgo [Nyirenda]. I would not know anything about Kafoteka’s issue. But normally, such issues are forwarded to Sports Council who handle insurance matters for the national team,” Nyamilandu said.
Few years ago, former Flames midfielder Maxwell Chirwa took FAM to task following a prolonged struggle to get his compensation after he broke his leg when the Flames played Botswana during Malawi Independence celebrations at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre in 2003.
Kafoteka started earning Flames’ call-ups in 2005 and was the national team’s regular defender up to his retirement in 2011. The former Civo United and Escom United player scored three goals for the Flames.