Re-elected Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu says he has learnt his lessons and will not make a declaration on an election only to change his mind later.
In the past three elections, Nyamilandu declared not to seek re-election, only to change his tune at a later stage, prompting some quarters to suggest that it was his tactic to play with people’s minds.
But in an interview on Wednesday, he said: “I won’t make the same mistakes of making premature announcements like in the past.”
Asked about the possibility of seeking a sixth term, Nyamilandu said: “It’s not on my mind at the moment. I can’t commit you never know what the future holds.”
Super League of Malawi (Sulom) president Tiya Somba Banda, who is also a FAM executive member, applauded Nyamilandu for his move.
“It’s a good idea because we do not know what tomorrow brings. Such declarations put you in an awkward situation when you want to change your mind.
“Each election comes with its own dynamics and, therefore, it’s prudent to wait for the right time,” he said.
Northern Region Football Association (NRFA) chairperson Lameck Khonje said Nyamilandu’s repeated change of mind “exposed him as someone who is not honest, because you cannot do that for two or three times. It raises questions about his honesty. People cannot take him seriously.”
The NRFA chairperson said as the situation stands, Nyamilandu is most likely to seek a sixth term.
“My take is that he will see through all his three remaining terms because when a Fifa election comes up and he is re-elected, he will say I want to stand so as to protect my Fifa position.”
Football analyst George Kaudza Masina said considering that Nyamilandu never kept his word in the past, “it will be good for him and the football fraternity that he keeps his next move to himself because whatever he says now, no one might take his pronouncement seriously as he keeps on changing the goal posts.”
During his acceptance speech in Mangochi, Nyamilandu said the football fraternity should expect “to see a changed Walter, a reborn Walter whose focus will be on ‘raising the bar’ and taking the game to a new level rather than exiting the stage”.
Nyamilandu has served as FAM president since 2004 and is eligible to seek re-election in the next two terms.
Meanwhile, Nyamilandu has defended his move for a fifth term after serving for 15 years, saying his focus is “on raising the bar and taking the game to a new level “rather than exiting the stage”.
Prior to the elections, Nyamilandu insisted that his move was to ensure that FAM benefits from his Fifa Council membership and asked to justify his claims, he said: “I have already started working on exploring partnerships with several Fifa Council members who are sitting presidents of various football associations.
“Through good friendship and networking that has already been established with various Council members, I am working on securing partnerships based on competencies of the FAs in terms of technical development and training, infrastructure, exchange programs and training camps for national teams, among many others.”
Nyamilandu said his ambition is to introduce a unique and distinguished football philosophy for Malawi Football by assimilating and adopting the continental style of play from any of the successful countries such as Brazil, Germany and Spain.
“I am already in touch with the leadership of these renowned FAs. Secondly, I will be leveraging on my position as a Fifa Council member by influencing and shaping decisions that are pro poor to benefit less developed countries like Malawi.
“There is already a project in the pipeline that the Fifa Council has approved for schools football where the FA will be collaborating with the schools by distributing free footballs and training teachers to be coaches.
“It is also my intention to expose capable football administrators to high level committees in Fifa CAF and Cosafa so that they contribute to the organisation of Football at a global or continental level,” he said.