Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) has said this year’s Presidential Football Cup will not be held due to time factor and other technical hitches.
The development puts to rest the cloud of uncertainty that hovered over the staging of this year’s tournament.
Instead, Sports Council executive secretary George Jana has said subject to government approval, they are planning to revert to the initial calendar where the Presidential Initiative on Sports (PIS) programme should start in January.
“We only have two months before we conclude the year and I very much doubt if the football tournament will be held this year because we have already made a suggestion to government that the PIS programmes should start in January.
“This has been done so that the PIS should be in line with the associations’ programmes. However, we are yet to finalise discussions with government on the proposal to change the calendar,” said Jana.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) had challenges to organise this year’s tournament after K22 million of the K60 million allocation was diverted towards the national soccer team’s trip to Nigeria for the 2014 World Cup qualifier in September last year.
From then on, FAM and government kept throwing the ball into each other’s court on the way forward as FAM insisted that they would wait for government’s advice as the sponsor while government said it was FAM that was supposed to come up with the decision.
The latest development means FAM will forfeit the remaining K38 million meant for this year’s tournament.
FAM president Walter Nyamilandu said the association was yet to be advised on the latest development.
“We are implementors of the sponsorship and if they say the tournament will start early next year, then we have no choice and we will go according to government’s decision,” said Nyamilandu.
He also claimed at the time they asked for supplementary funding for the trip to Nigeria, government did not indicate that the funds would be diverted from the Presidential Cup.
“Let me clarify that when we have a shortfall like it was with the Nigeria trip, all we asked for was supplementary funding. We have no powers to dictate to government on where the money should come from,” said Nyamilandu.
Big Bullets general secretary Harold Fote said they are at pains to accept that the tournament will not be held this year.
“We feel robbed because we bought a number of players to compete in such tournaments,” said Fote.
On the suggestion to revert to the initial calendar, Nyamilandu said it is an issue that needs further consultation.
But Jana said it would still work as the tournament starts at district levels before proceeding to regional and then national finals.