Ministry of Youth and Sports says under the current circumstances, it is difficult to negotiate for Flames’ extra funding for next month’s back-to-back 2022 World Cup qualifiers against Ivory Coast.
The Malawi National Football Team will host the Elephants on October 8 with the return leg slated for four days later in Abidjan and FAM say they require about K200 million for the two fixtures.
The ministry’s director of sports Jameson Ndalama said this in reaction to a Football Association of Malawi (FAM) statement that the team’s continued participation in the qualifiers hinges on the availability of funds, having exhausted its K200 million for the current financial year.
In an interview yesterday, Ndalama said: “As the situation stands, they [FAM] require extra funding which is difficult because of the budget we are using now.
“So, we are waiting to hear from [Ministry of] Finance to advise us on the way forward. That is the position.”
FAM president Walter Nyamilandu yesterday said their hopes rest with government bailing out the Flames, failing which the Flames will withdraw from the tournament.
He said: “Such undesirable outcome will lead to CAF/Fifa imposing sanctions on Malawi which could affect our participation in the Africa Cup of Nations [Afcon] finals as per Article (5) of the regulations.
“We have no any other option apart from pursuing supplementary funding, having exhausted all sources of funding.”
Nyamilandu said the Flames deserve the support of the nation, having demonstrated lately excellent performance by qualifying for Afcon finals.
“It will be a missed opportunity if we are forced to withdraw from the World Cup because the consequences will be severe,” said Nyamilandu.
Part of Article 5 (2) of the regulations states: “Any association that withdraws after the start of the preliminary competition will be sanctioned with a fine of at least 40 000 swiss francs [$43 402.92] which translates to K35.6 million.”
FAM suffered a K100 million cut in its annual government subvention for the 2021/22 financial year, having been allocated K200 million following the planned transition to a new financial year cycle starting April 1.
Following the reduction, FAM lodged a complaint with the Malawi National Council of Sports, arguing that the move came when they were facing high demand of national team activities.
Nyamilandu said Sports Council was yet to respond to the complaint and in an interview last week, the council’s spokesperson Faith Mtonyo-Mlauzi said they will not comment on the issue “for now”.
The Flames are third in their four-team Group D with three points from two matches, having lost their opening match 2-0 to Ivory Coast before edging Mozambique 1-0.
Malawi are tied on three points with second-placed Cameroon while Ivory Coast top the group with four points.
Mozambique anchor the group with a point.