Dowa East member of Parliament (MP) Richard Chimwendo-Banda (Malawi Congress Party-MCP) has appealed for increased funding towards the national football and netball teams whose allocation in the proposed 2016/17 National Budget has been slashed by almost 68 percent.
The Flames were last year given K100 million while the Queens received K101, million but in the financial plan currently under debate in Parliament, the teams have been allocated K32 million each.
Speaking in the National Assembly in Lilongwe on Wednesday, Chimwendo-Banda said the inadequate resources mean that netball and football—the most prominent sporting disciplines—would continue to fail on the international stage.
“The Flames have been failing to participate in so many tournaments and they have been failing to prepare well. That is why we have been crying as a country that the team has not been doing very well,” he said.
The legislator further said before the corporate world provides financial support to the teams, government should be in the forefront providing meaningful funding to the teams.
“Let’s give the Flames enough resources. I know companies can come and support our country, but it is our responsibility. When the Flames and netball [team] and other [disciplines] go out there, they represent our country,” he said.
“I want to plead with the Ministry of Finance to give the Ministry of Sports [and Culture] enough resources.”
The MP also touched on poor sports infrastructure, saying: “There are also other infrastructure developments such as Kamuzu Stadium, Mzuzu Youth Centre and Kamuzu Institute of Sports [KIS] are failing to take shape because the amount of money given to them is not adequate.”
According to the Ministry of Sports and Culture, Kamuzu Stadium is set for rehabilitation because some terraces have been cordoned off while the Mzuzu Youth Centre is yet to be constructed despite the plans being hatched for a long time.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) and Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) asked for K500 million each from the national budget which stands at K1.13 trillion.
Among other upcoming Flames games are the African Cup of Nations qualifier against Swaziland, next year’s Cosafa Castle Cup and African Nations Championship (Chan) qualifiers.
FAM president Walter Nyamilandu has said the reduced budget might force the team to withdraw from all tournaments.
“It would be unrealistic for us to compete because the funds are shockingly inadequate,” he said, while welcoming calls for the grants to be increased.
For the Queens, there is World Youth Championship (WYC) qualifiers in Botswana and Fast5 World Netball Series in Australia in October this year.