Minister of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development Francis Kasaila has faulted sports administrators on their over-reliance on government’s annual subvention, saying the habit stifles sports development in the country.
The minister said this on Friday in Blantyre during the graduation of 16 sports administrators who underwent an advanced diploma in sports management course under the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Olympic Solidarity Programme through the Malawi Olympic Committee (MoC).
The graduates included Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) president Khungekile Matiya, Blantyre and Districts Netball League (BDNL) chairperson Junier Kazembe, Football Association of Malawi (FAM) matching systems manager Casper Jangale and Lawn Tennis Association of Malawi (LTAM) general secretary Stan Kaunda.
“The main reason you underwent this diploma course was to polish your administration skills. Now, you have to go back to your respective disciplines to change things. Elsewhere, sports is big business; you do not only rely on government funding but use the sports management skills you have acquired to generate additional funds for your operations,” Kasaila said.
His statement comes at a time various sports disciplines are disgruntled with their continued meagre allocations in the national budget, saying this stifles their development plans and denies them a chance to win medals at prestigious competitions.
For instance, in the 2018/19 National Budget, Athletics Association of Malawi was allocated K2 million against their proposed budget of K39 million while Basketball Association of Malawi received K3 million against their K150 million proposed funding.
Among the country’s 43 sports associations, Football Association of Malawi (FAM) and Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) got the lions’ share of government funding at K300 million and K200 million, respectively. The rest shared almost K100 million.
But after the graduation ceremony on Friday, the administrators said they were confident the lessons they learned through the advanced sports management course will help them set their associations on the right path to financial independence.
“We look at sports nowadays as a business. If you cannot create value for the sponsors and the clubs then we do not need to run sports. We welcome the minister’s sentiment and the onus is on us as sports administrators to find ways of how we can improve,” Jangale said.
“We need to change our mindset to adopt a business kind of thinking to make sure there is mutual benefit for the sponsors and sports. We need to remove the element of corporate social responsibility with a sense of business when we take a begging bowl to companies and organisations.”
Nevertheless, MOC president Oscar Kanjala said although the graduates are capable of making the necessary changes in sports management that cannot happen overnight.