Malawi cricketers cannot play international games, access funding and training because the Malawi Cricket Union (MCU) is under Africa Cricket Association (ACA) ban.
The current Azeez Quresh-led MCU is paying for alleged â€˜sinsâ€™ of the previous administration, which ACA claims, failed to account for the continental bodyâ€™s funding amounting to $80 000 (K22.8 million) meant for cricket development in the country.
MCU and ACA audits revealed the financial irregularity last year, leading to Malawiâ€™s suspension from the 25-member ACA also known as the International Cricket Council (ICC) Africa office.
“We have been suspended for 18 months now. I am trying to get the answers from the previous committee, but there is no joy. I am not getting answers. We are playing cricket, but it is on a social scale,” said Quresh who was, after serving in an interim capacity, re-elected in July.
The longer it takes for the answers to come, the dimmer are MCUâ€™s chances of readmission to ACA membership and by extension, to ICC. Currently, MCU runs NBM and FBM leagues in the Southern Region.
Quresh admitted that unless MCU previous regime led by Riz Omar accounts for the money, Malawi will remain suspended as an ICC affiliate member which is three rungs behind the top tier Full Test nationsâ€™ status.
Last year, Omar toldÂ The Sunday TimesÂ of July 24 that “some of the money was spread across cricket development programmes. It was, therefore, hard to document the expenditure. We explained this to ICC envoys. We thought they had understood our situation.”
Zambia were also suspended on similar grounds, but they are, unlike MCUâ€™s indifference, committed to prescribing reforms, said ACA chief executive officer Cassim Suliman in an exclusive interview from South Africa.
“MCU is suspended as they cannot account for the finances in the region of $70 000 to $80 000. We want to reform the board, then they can come back to the fold,” said Suliman.
He said MCU needs to show commitment by electing an inclusive executive committee.
Told that MCU has ushered in new office bearers, Suliman said his office does not recognise the committee because ACA did not oversee its election.
On Monday, Sports Council executive secretary George Jana confirmed ACAâ€™s ban of the MCU.