Newly appointed Malawi National Council of Sports board chairperson James Chuma has wasted little time in setting up targets for himself, saying lobbying for associations’ increased funding from government will be his main task.
Chuma will head the council’s new 10-member board which was appointed by President Peter Mutharika alongside other statutory bodies on Monday. The other board members are Dr Bright Molande, Wilma Chalulu [retained], Violet Chinkono, Chimwemwe Nyirenda, Traditional Authority Bvumbwe, Reverend Father Mark Kambalazaza, Rodrick Chiwaya, Kenneth Mangulama and Krishna Achuthan [retained].
In an interview soon after announcement of his appointment, Chuma said he felt greatly humbled to earn the trust of the President in heading the Sports Council board.
“It is such a challenging task considering the financial constraints that sports disciplines face.
“I will not promise the moon, but suffice to say I will lobby for increased funding for associations and also work closely with them to appreciate their challenges and find out why most of them are not able to generate own funding. I believe that would be a good starting point,” said Chuma.
He added: “I believe that while funding from government is not enough, associations should try to be creative in finding means of raising extra funds. I am aware that some of my predecessors might have sung a similar tune, but I am determined to go an extra mile.”
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu and Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) general secretary Carol Bapu welcomed Chuma’s appointment, saying his background in sports, gives them confidence that he could achieve the targets that he has set.
“He is also young, energetic and has passion for sports. We have welcomed him with both hands. Our expectation, though, is that he will indeed lobby for a substantial increase in funding. And with the help of the entire board, we also expect him to implement sports policies.
“For him to achieve that, he will have to work closely with associations for him and the entire board to appreciate their challenges because the problem with some previous chairpersons was that they operated from a distance,” said Nyamilandu.
On her part Bapu said: “The good thing is that he has sports background, having served in the boards of Mighty Wanderers FC and Tigresses netball team. He also sponsors football and netball tournaments and, therefore, we have reason to give him the benefit of the doubt that he will advance our causes, in particular lobbying for increased funding in sports.”
Chuma is also vice-chairperson of Wanderers FC board of trustees. He also served as the club’s chairperson for three years and had a stint in Tigresses netball team board.
He has replaced Emmanuel Gondwe.