Malawi national soccer team captain Joseph Kamwendo has said the current Flames’ financial predicament has the potential to affect the players psychologically ahead of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations’ qualifiers against Mali and Ethiopia.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) has since said there appears a light at the end of the tunnel and if all goes well, the team might go into camp this Sunday.
The Flames are slated to host the Eagles of Mali on November 15 before travelling to Ethiopia for their final Group B qualifier against the Walya Antelopes four days later.
Speaking for the first time since FAM announced the indefinite postponement of the team’s camping due to budgetary constraints, Kamwendo described the situation as “very unfortunate”.
“Players need to be in the right shape of mind, but when they are not sure as to whether the game is on or not with just one and a half weeks remaining, the situation has the potential to affect them mentally.
“We understand the economic challenges our country is going through, but I still feel we can do better as a nation. I am speaking on behalf of my colleagues and our plea is that the team should go into camp,” Kamwendo said from his Lumbumbashi base in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
He added the issue is beyond the players because their job is to play football.
“So, I guess we just need to wait for the authorities, but I must admit that time is not on our side although we are prepared to die for our motherland,” said the TP Mazembe midfielder.
Former Flames captain Peter Mponda said as long as funding remains sporadic, the team cannot scale lofty heights.
Mponda and soccer analyst Charles Nyirenda also said government should have bailed out the Flames.
“There is no national team on the continent that sorely depends on support from the private sector; even giants such as Egypt, Nigeria and Ghana get a huge share of financial resources from their respective governments,” said Nyirenda.
However, FAM chief executive officer Suzgo Nyirenda yesterday said there is now hope that the association could raise the required K62 million.
FAM found itself in a tight spot after government refused to provide the Flames more extra budgetary allocation to enable them to complete the qualifiers.