Minister of Youth and Sports Ulemu Msungama says government will fully fund Flames’ preparations and participation in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals and 2022 World Cup group qualifiers.
Msungama’s statement comes amid concerns from some quarters after Malawi National Council of Sports was allocated K1.6 billion in the proposed 2021/22 National Budget against Football Association of Malawi’s (FAM) K1.175 billion budget for Afcon finals and World Cup qualifiers.
But in an interview, the minister said there was no need to panic as government is committed to fund the Flames’ two campaigns.
He said: “Look, everyone knows that the Flames qualified for the Afcon finals and the World Cup group stage. Government will support the Flames as it did in the qualifiers.”
FAM general secretary Alfred Gunda said they submitted a detailed programme of the preparations and participation for the two competitions.
He said: “All the details of our programmes were submitted to government through Malawi National Council of Sports.”
On the proposed K1.6 billion allocation to Sports Council, which includes the sports governing body’s operations and funding for associations, Gunda said FAM will ask for extra funding from government if it fails to get full funding.
“We wanted full funding for the two competitions. But if we don’t get tit, then we will have to request extra budgetary support,” he said.
FAM has also formed a task force, headed by its first vice-president Jabbar Alide, to spearhead resources mobilisation for the Flames.
Meanwhile, Kasungu North legislator Mike Bango, who wanted to table a private member’s motion to form another task force for the Flames Afcon funding mobilisation, has had a change of heart.
In a statement he issued Thursday, he said he will not table the motion after Msungama committed to fund the Flames budget.
Reads the statement in part: “I would like to notify you that I will not proceed with my plans of moving a motion in Parliament aimed at requesting His Excellency the State President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera to appoint a task force aimed at mobilising resources for the Malawi National Football Team’s participation at the 2021 Afcon finals in Cameroon.
“This follows a fruitful meeting I had with the Minister of Sports, Hon Ulemu Msungama today, 17th June 2021, where he assured me of the President’s and government’s commitment towards supporting the Flames’ participation at the tournament.”
Bango also urged people to support the task force set up by FAM.
“I would like to sincerely express my gratitude to everyone that supported the idea to move the motion in the august House and encourage those willing to support our beloved national football team to do so through the task force that has just been instituted by FAM,” he said.