Malawi Under-20 and Under-17 national football teams are expected to participate in Confederation of Africa Football (CAF), but Football Association of Malawi (FAM) says it is yet to source funding for the two continental tournaments.
Malawi joins the Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in second round against the winner between Sudan and Kenya in May while the Under-17 team has been drawn against Kenya in the first round of the competition.
FAM claims CAF has a compulsory policy for youth competitions hence they had no choice but to join both tournaments.
The association now finds itself in a predicament as it is also struggling to source funds for the senior team’s Afcon qualifiers against Guinea, Swaziland and Mozambique as well as the 2016 Cosafa Cup.
“We don’t have funds at all. I don’t recall us registering for these competitions. The general secretary can advise,” FAM president Walter Nyamilandu said during the week.
FAM general secretary Suzgo Nyirenda said there was no need to register since CAF has a compulsory policy for youth competitions.
Nyirenda said: “That’s true. We just got the fixtures from CAF after the draw. There was nothing like registering. But we knew there were two competitions. ”
Malawi were knocked out of the 2015 Afcon Under-20 by Zambia in 2014.
Since then, Malawi does not have any active youth team and FAM has two months to appoint a coach and select players for the two teams.
The general secretary said the technical subcommittee would meet next month to discuss Malawi’s participation in the two competitions.
“As management, we are working on the budget. We are not just sitting. We are banging heads. We will try to advise and give direction on how we can source funds. Right now, we cannot say whether FAM has money for the tournament. First things first; let us work on the budget and if we fail to get the funds, we will also advise on what to do,” said Nyirenda.
The subcommittee’s resolution will be presented to FAM executive.
“If the resolutions made by the subcommittee on how to source funds for the two competitions are not approved, we will tell the nation that we have failed to participate,” said Nyirenda.
But soccer analyst Charles Nyirenda faulted FAM for failing to alert CAF that they cannot manage to participate in the two competitions.
“Why can’t they query CAF and seek an explanation for being included in competitions they never entered?
“Or could it be that by prior arrangement all junior sides are meant to participate by compulsory? The Association is well placed to tell the nation what is really going on here,” he said.
The draw for the competitions were conducted during the CAF executive committee meeting held on February 5 in Kigali, Rwanda.
Seven teams will emerge from the qualifiers to join the hosts for the final tournaments early next year.
The final tournament of the Under-17 will be held from April 2 to 16 April 2017 in Madagascar, whilst the Under-20 finals will be played been February 26 and March 12 2017 in Zambia.
The top four finishers at the continental championship qualify to represent Africa at the respective Fifa World Cups. n