I have lost count of football soul-searching meetings which Malawi Sports ministers have hosted in the last decade.
Incumbent Minister Enock Chihana wants his too— a stakeholders’ football conference to identify the ‘Satan on Malawi football back’.
They all host theirs; the Sports ministers; Big dreamer Moses Dossi hosted his. The most remarkable took place at the French Cultural Centre, leading to the Super League Association of Malawi’s death and the subsequent resurrection of the Super League of Malawi.
Henry Chimunthu Banda also called for his at Blantyre’s Civic Centre around 2004. It was the same with Henderson Mabeti, Jaffalie Mussa, Phillip Bwanali, Khumbo Kachali, Dr. Luscious Kanyumba and Symon Vuwa Kaunda.
They came, saw this football Satan and went with little progress. It has been business as usual. The football evil is getting bigger and bigger with it, dragging Malawi football deeper and deeper into the ditch.
Flames are, as of this month, ranked 111. Players and coaches are getting poorer. Teams are closing shop at an alarming rate. Some supporters still have a big say on everything including championing hooliganism, violence and disorder.
Clubs lack legal ownership and, therefore, operate as mere community groups with no discernible structure. They survive on public sympathy, which unfortunately, like gasoline and forex, is in short supply.
Football committees are many but few are relevant. You only hear about them during elections. The sports media industry is thriving but a few elements threaten the gains.
Even when they are so broke, they cannot afford a ‘cooler box’, teams aimlessly get into the Super League to donate points. School football is too ‘competition-oriented’ instead of being developmental.
Whatever side of the coin you look at it, refereeing is an endangered profession. FAM and Sulom are yet to provide the blueprint for football professionalism.
They are children of the same Mother Malawi Football, but egos put them worlds apart.
Therefore, Chihana’s ‘conference idea’ is good but not necessary. Resolutions from past meetings are well documented, including in the Lilongwe Declaration.
If there should be a stakeholders’ meeting, let there be no wastage of time trying to identify the problems for they are common knowledge.
I am rather for reviewing past resolutions; see what was implemented, why it was not implemented, who was supposed to be responsible for what and if possible reset targets. Let the enemies of progress be penalised.
Otherwise, meetings/workshops, like football commissions of inquiries, are a waste of resources for most of them never translate to action.