Football Association of Malawi (FAM) claims that American pop star Madonna has been ignoring its advances on her pledged soccer academy project, hyped as a catalyst for football development.
During her visit to Malawi in July last year, the pop diva said she would like to fulfil the dream of her Malawian adopted son David Banda to set up a football academy that will help build a strong Malawi national team
Banda has ambitions to be a professional player and is currently at Portuguese club Benfica.
After unveiling the plans, Madonna’s team was in contact with FAM officials and agreed that the academy would be constructed in Lilongwe.
But in an interview with Weekend Nation this week, FAM president Walter Nyamilandu said they have been following up on the progress by e-mailing Madonna, through her representatives, but there has been no response.
“The Madonna team has been very quiet despite several attempts to follow up on the issue. We are very concerned about the lack of progress,” he said.
Nyamilandu said the last time the two sides discussed the issue was last year when Madonna’s team sent designs for the purported project.
“We responded positively and swiftly to their call by providing land in Lilongwe subsequent to which we approved their academy drawings,” he said.
Meanwhile, Nyamilandu has urged Madonna “to come out open with their decision” so that FAM can map the way forward.
When contacted, Szena Dayo, who has been the focal link between Malawi and Madonna told Weekend Nation that there were other people that could respond to the matter.
“I have transitioned from Raising Malawi, but have shared the matter with my colleagues who will respond accordingly,” she said.
However, Madonna’s representatives were not available for comment.
Meanwhile, management development expert George Kaudza-Masina says FAM cannot take any other action against Madonna because the pledge was not formally agreed.
“A mere pledge without a formal written agreement can be difficult to enforce…A donor cannot be pushed, but it could have been good for Madonna to come in the open on her stand,” he said.