Minister of Youth and Sports Ulemu Msungama yesterday said he has not called for the resignation of Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu as widely suggested on social media platforms.
This is in contradiction to what he told Weekend Nation edition of July 11 2020 when he said Nyamilandu is politically compromised and “is not fit to be FAM president”.
Msungama was also quoted as having said that as an elected FAM president, “the expectation is that he should know where to draw the line or else resign from his position”.
But during his visit at Mpira Village in Chiwembe, Blantyre as part of his familiarisation tour yesterday, the minister said he has never said Nyamilandu should resign.
The Minister said: “I cannot do that because you [Nyamilandu] do not only report to the government, but Fifa [the world football governing body] as well. I respect rule of law.”
“However, I register my disappointment on your involvement in politics. Of course, Fifa prohibits government interference in FAM operations, but government being funders of some of the association’s activities, we need to have a say on what affects our relationship.”
He added that government cannot stop Nyamilandu from supporting a particular political party, but he should desist from doing that openly to avoid tarnishing the local football governing body’s image and football in general.
Msungama said it was unfortunate to see FAM sponsoring party events and Nyamilandu putting on a political party beret.
“This administration is looking forward to working towards football development and you [Nyamilandu] must do your best to work within the lines. I am a straight forward person that calls a spade by its name. I am not against the association but the behaviour of the FAM president,” he said.
The minister, who claimed to have supported Nyamilandu’s re-election bid as FAM president, said he recently met and talked with the FAM president regarding his involvement in political affairs but was not convinced with Nyamilandu’s justification.
“We recently talked but I was not convinced with your justification. You need to be exemplary because some people that follow football belong to different political parties while others are not affiliated to any political party,” he said.
On his part, Nyamilandu said he is not a politician and that he serves the government of the day.
“My job is running football in the country. I am not a politician; I have never supported any political party and I do not hold any political ambition. I do not want to argue with the minister as he is my boss. The most important thing is that we have now built a good relationship,” he said.