Malawian teams are the only ones from the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) bloc that have not entered the 2017 CAF Champions League whose preliminary draw was held on Tuesday in Cairo, Egypt.
Local football follower and marketer Felix Ngamanya Sapao described the development as unfortunate, saying Malawian football is losing out on exposure.
“Even smaller footballing countries such as Swaziland, Lesotho, Seychelles are joining the elite club tournaments, no wonder we now struggle to beat them because their players are getting more exposed.
“They are making strides through participation in such tournaments,” said Sapao.
He said participation in such tournaments hinges more on planning.
“In most of the countries, part of the league sponsorship package includes the champions’ participation in such international tournaments, an area which FAM and Sulom can explore,” he said.
Players agent Kondi Msungama, who facilitated Nyasa Big Bullets’ participation in 2014 when he was the club’s chairperson, said with proper planning, local teams can take part in the continental events.
“If government can commit itself towards the cause backed by the league sponsors and a vibrant marketing drive by the clubs themselves, it can happen.
“The reason we incurred debts [in 2014] when we took part was because we started planning late and we did not get the support,” said Msungama.
Caps United (Zimbabwe), Royal Leopards (Swaziland), Cote d’ Or (Syechelles), Ferroviario de Beira (Mozambique), AS Port Louis 2000 (Mauritius), Lioli (Lesotho), CnaPS Sport (Madagascar), Township Rollers (Botswana), 1 de Agosto (Angola), Mamelodi Sundowns (South Africa) and Zanaco (Zambia) from the Cosafa bloc, will take part in the tournament.
Initially, last season’s champions Bullets indicated that they would take part but changed later citing financial challenges and the team’s performance as the reasons. n